NGC 6302

Alt. Designations: Butterfly Nebula
Object Type: planetary nebula
Constellation: Scorpius
Distance: 3.7 kly
Right Ascension: 17h 13m 44.1s
Declination: -37° 06´ 12"
Visual Magnitude: 9.6
Apparent Dimension: 1.48´ Dia.
Best Month To View: May

NGC 6302 (also called the Butterfly Nebula, or Caldwell 69) is a bipolar planetary nebula in the constellation Scorpius. The structure in the nebula is among the most complex ever observed in planetary nebulae. The spectrum of NGC 6302 shows that its central star is one of the hottest stars in the galaxy, with a surface temperature in excess of 200,000 K, implying that the star from which it formed must have been very large. The central star, a white dwarf, was recently discovered using the upgraded Wide Field Camera 3 on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The star has a current mass of around 0.64 solar masses.