NGC 246 (also known as the Skull Nebula[4] or Caldwell 56) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Cetus. The nebula and the stars associated with it are listed in several catalogs, as summarized by the SIMBAD database.[1] It is roughly 1,600 light-years away.[6] The nebula's central star is the 12th magnitude[6] white dwarf HIP 3678.

NGC 246
Emission nebula
Planetary nebula
NGC 246.jpg
An infrared Spitzer Space Telescope image of NGC 246.
Credit: NASA/JPL.
Observation data: J2000 epoch
Right ascension00h 47m 03.338s[1]
Declination−11° 52′ 18.94″[1]
Distance1,600 light-years ly
Apparent magnitude (V)8[2] / 11.8 (central star)[1]
Apparent dimensions (V)3.8′[2]
Physical characteristics
Radius2-3 light-years[3] ly
DesignationsSkull Nebula,[4] Pac-Man Nebula,[5] Caldwell 56, HIP 3678, PMN J0047-1152, 2E 178, PN VV 4, IRAS 00445-1207[1]
See also: Lists of nebulae

Among some amateur astronomers, NGC 246 is known as the "Pac-Man Nebula" because of the arrangement of its central stars and the surrounding star field.[5]

Image galleryEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "NGC 246". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
  2. ^ a b "SEDS NGC Catalog Online". Results for NGC 246. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
  3. ^ "NGC 246". Astronomy: Stars & Planets. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  4. ^ a b "The Night Sky", Astronomy Now, Oct 2008.
  5. ^ a b David H. Levy, Deep Sky Objects, Prometheus Books, 2005, ISBN 1-59102-361-0, p 129.
  6. ^ a b Stephen James O'Meara, The Caldwell Objects, Sky Publishing Corporation, ISBN 0-933346-97-2, p 223.

External linksEdit