Getting plate-solving status, please wait...
Griffiths Planetary List, with Intro from Martin Griffiths, 


            Gary Imm

Griffiths Planetary List, with Intro from Martin Griffiths

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Takahashi TOA-130NFB  ·  Celestron EdgeHD 11

Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI 183MM Pro Cool  ·  ZWO ASI 294 MM Pro  ·  ZWO ASI 1600MM Cooled Pro

Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach1GTO

Guiding cameras: ZWO ASI 174 MM Mini

Software: Pixinsight  ·  Main Sequence Software Sequence Generator Pro  ·  Stark Labs PHD2 2.6.3

Filters: Astrodon Ha 31mm 5nm  ·  Astrodon OIII 31mm 3nm  ·  Astrodon Green 31mm Gen2 I-Series  ·  Astrodon Blue 31mm Gen2 I-Series  ·  Astrodon Lum 31mm Gen2 I-Series  ·  Astrodon Red 31mm Gen2 I-Series

Accessory: ZWO M68 OAG  ·  ZWO EFW 31mm  ·  ZWO EFW 2″X7  ·  Celestron OAG  ·  MoonLite Focuser for EdgeHD 11  ·  Takahashi Flattener TOA-67  ·  Feathertouch Focuser Boss II Electronic Focusing Control

Basic astrometry details job: 4264934

Resolution: 6000x3897

Locations: Backyard (Mag 20.8 - Bortle 4.5), Onalaska, Texas, United States

Data source: Backyard


Introduction by Martin Griffiths. I very much appreciate that he provided this quote specifically for this image post:

“Observing Planetary Nebulae has been a passion of mine since a young age. These ethereal gaseous outflows are all that is left of sun like stars at the end of their lives and are a salutary lesson for our future in that nothing lasts forever. The Griffiths Planetary List was an idea that came to me as I enjoyed looking at these objects and wanted to share the best with other observers. Gary Imm’s beautiful images of each nebula on the list are wonderful examples of his dedication and expertise. I hope that generations will enjoy these lovely images and keep them in mind as they observe the Griffiths Planetary List”.

Martin Griffiths BA BSc MSc FRAS FHEA
Director, Brecon Beacons Observatory
Dark Sky Wales


Planetary nebulae (PN) are wonderfully unique and beautiful objects to view and image. Although some PN have been included on other famous lists such as Messier and Caldwell, the first PN-focused list (to my knowledge) was developed fairly recently by Martin Griffiths in his excellent 2012 book, “Planetary Nebulae”. The Griffiths Planetary List consists of 45 non-Messier PN ranging from +82 to -24 declination. In his words, he picked these PN “to strike a balance between brightness, size and observability by concentrating on exciting and challenging nebulae that the author has personally seen in almost 40 years of examining the skies. Purposely ignored are the 4 Messier PN objects.” Like the Messier and Caldwell lists, this list was developed primarily for eyepiece viewing, but all of the objects on these lists make great astrophotography targets as well.

On my poster, the objects are listed in order of GPL number from top left to bottom right. Griffiths numbered them in increasing RA value. I have shown each PN roughly to scale. Each PN image is accompanied by its primary designation, common nickname (if there is one), size (in arc-seconds and light years), magnitude, distance (in thousands of light years), and declination.

PN technical data is a challenge to determine and varies from source to source. I sourced the size information from my image, which often resulted in diameters which were quite larger than those listed in Griffith’s book. Perhaps that is because my images capture larger areas of extent, such as outer rings, which were not visible to Griffith. The magnitude information is from Griffith’s book, and the distance information is from various sources.

I tried to also include the surface brightness. But that data varies tremendously from source to source, and I came to the conclusion that surface brightness for these unusual objects is not a reliable parameter because of the wild brightness fluctuations across each object.

As with my other posters, contact me at [email protected] if you would like a spreadsheet of this data. This poster and individual object images are contained in my Griffiths Planetary List collection.

A few comments about this list:

- NGC 6857 was originally thought to be a planetary nebula. But starting in 1970, the view developed that it an HII region and not a PN. In my opinion, the detail of my image of this object confirms that it is not a PN, since the structure is unlike any PN that I have seen. Also, its size of 11 light years is too large for a bright PN, and its distance of 30,000 light years is beyond the furthest PN by about a factor of 2. But I respect Griffiths’ expertise, so I kept this entry in the list.

- No Abell PN made the list. That is because they are generally too dim for eyepiece viewing.

- There are 5 nice PNs a bit further south, ranging from -34 to -40 degrees declination: NGC 2818, NGC 3132, NGC 6302, NGC 6337, and NGC 6563. If your imaging location can reach these PNs, they are better objects than many on this list.

The GPL objects are listed below. As earlier stated, the GPL list is numbered by right ascension value:

1. NGC 40
2. NGC 246
3. IC 289
4. IC 2003
5. NGC 1501
6. NGC 1514
7. NGC 1535
8. IC 418
9. NGC 2022
10. IC 2149
11. HD 44179
12. NGC 2346
13. NGC 2371
14. NGC 2392
15. NGC 2438
16. NGC 2440
17. NGC 3242
18. NGC 4361
19. IC 3568
20. IC 4593
21. NGC 6210
22. NGC 6309
23. NGC 6369
24. NGC 6445
25. NGC 6543
26. NGC 6572
27. NGC 6741
28. NGC 6751
29. NGC 6781
30. NGC 6804
31. NGC 6818
32. NGC 6826
33. NGC 6857
34. NGC 6891
35. NGC 6894
36. NGC 6905
37. NGC 7008
38. NGC 7009
39. NGC 7026
40. NGC 7027
41. NGC 7048
42. NGC 7139
43. NGC 7293
44. IC 5217
45. NGC 7662

For completeness, I have completed another poster here which includes all 45 of the above GPL objects, plus the 4 Messier PN, plus the 5 southerly PN, for a total of 54 bright planetary nebulae.

Please reply with any comments or if you identify errors.



Griffiths Planetary List, with Intro from Martin Griffiths, 


            Gary Imm