NGC 1514 – Planetary Nebula In Taurus – the “Crystal Ball Nebula” January 2019 Observer’s Challenge Object

Image by Mario Motta from Massachusetts using a 32-inch reflector: 



I’ve observed NGC 1514 thrice with my 15-inch f/4.5 reflector, and it’s wonderfully complex.  The sketch was made at 216× with a UHC filter.  I may not have gotten all the lumps and bumps in exactly the right place, but it gives the general impression.   Sue French  

Inverted pencil sketch:  

N1514 neg

Positive pencil sketch:

N1514 pos


Pencil sketch by Roger Ivester

NGC 1514

Inverted pencil sketch

Rogers NGC-1514 Inverted

Last night (December 17, 2018) was excellent, however, there was a 74% illuminated moon.  I set my 10-inch reflector up on the back deck, with the house shielding the direct light from the moon.  Having no idea what to expect under these conditions, I started out with 57x, and without a filter.  It was easy to see the 9th magnitude central star, with some surrounding nebulosity.  I then went to 208x, and a UHC filter.  The nebula came alive!  

The only two stars visible in the field, without the filter, other than the 9th magnitude central star, was two ~8 mag. stars…one to the north and the other south.  The nebula has greater concentration to the north, and you can see that in my sketch.     Roger Ivester 


NGC 1514 in Taurus is sometimes called the “Crystal Ball Nebula,”  But I have coined the name “Herschel’s Revelation” as being far more significant.  This is the object that convinced Sir William that nebulae were real and not, as was the belief then, just masses of unresolved stars.  His profound insight came at seeing the clear separation of the surrounding nebula from the obvious central star.  Yet another of Herschel’s many amazing observations based solely on the visual appearance of an object in his telescopes.  Jim Mullaney 

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