A Short History of Planetary Nebulae

  • Martin Griffiths
Part of the Astronomers' Observing Guides book series (OBSERVING)


The beautiful objects we now recognize as planetary nebulae led invisible lives until the middle of the eighteenth century. On the evening of July 12, 1764, the French comet hunter Charles Messier observed a barely resolved blob of light in the constellation of Vulpecula. His note of the discovery shows that he dismissed it immediately after recording its position. After all, it was not the kind of object he was interested in:


Central Star Planetary Nebula Astronomical Object Mount Wilson Observatory Emission Line Spectrum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Griffiths
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlamorganGlyntafUK

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