NGC 246 The Skull Nebula
NGC 246 is located about 2,000 light-years in the constellation Cetus. It was discovered in 1975 by William Herschel. It is also known by astronomers as the skull nebula because its shape resembles that of a skull. It is a planetary nebula, not because it is a planet but because it has the appearance of one. It has an apparent magnitude of 10.9. That means for astronomers and their telescopes, it is fairly dim. Its central star, a white dwarf, has been an object of monitoring because in 1930 it was as bright as a 9th magnitude star and then in 1969 a 11.2 magnitude and today it’s a magnitude of 12. That’s REAL dim.