The Binocular Sky


NGC 7293 (the Helix Nebula)

Constellation: Aqr
Object Type: Planetary Nebula
RA:  22h 29m 38s
Dec:  -20° 50' 13"
Magnitude: 6.5
Recommended minimum aperture: 50mm

Charts for 100mm Binocular (2.5° aperture circle).   Click on a chart to print it.


Identify the 4th magnitude 88 Aqr and place it on the S edge of the field or the finder ring. Sweep four fields (9.25°) to the W and NGC 7293 should appear in the eyepiece.

What You Should See:

With an integrated magnitude of 6.5, the Helix seems as if it should be an easy object. However, it is a large (about the size of the Moon) object with low surface brightness and it requires a dark sky or a UHC or O-III filter. In 100mm binoculars I find it slightly easier at ×20 than at ×37. The middle of this nebula is noticeably darker than the periphery at both magnifications, particularly with a filter.