IC 59/63, Gamma Cassiopeia Nebula


The German astronomer Max Wolf discovered the two nebulae IC 59 and IC 63 near the star γ Cassiopeiae on December 30, 1893. The American astronomer Edward Barnard rediscovered the two nebulae independently on February 2, 1894. The British astronomer Isaac Roberts made γ Cassiopeiae of the star γ as early as January 17, 1890, but despite a 20 inch aperture and 90 minutes exposure time, no nebula could be seen on the picture. [196, 206]

IC 59 + IC 63
IC 59 + IC 63: Nebula near γ Cassiopeiae; Takahashi Mewlon 250 CR, Reducer CR 0.73 (f=1800mm / f7.25), SBIG ST-8300; 16L x 1200 sec 1×1, 11R, 11G, 10B, 13HA 2×2 x 1200 sec; Bernese Highlands; © 2016 Bernhard Blank, Dragan Mihajlovic
IC 63
IC 63: Nebula near γ Cassiopeiae; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2; SBIG STL11K; 120+3*40 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2015 Radek Chromik

Physical Properties

The two nebulae are about 600 light years away. The hot, bright star γ Cassiopeiae shines only three to four light-years away from these, whose high-energy radiation is reflected in the nebulae, causing them to glow in part, but which will dissolve completely over time. IC 63 is located closer to the star and glows more strongly in the H-α light, as the UV radiation from the star causes hydrogen to ionize. Due to the greater distance to the star, IC 59 shows proportionally fewer H-α emissions, but rather appears bluish due to the fact that it is reflected in the dust. [352]

«Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue», «Historically Corrected New General Catalogue», Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke, 2021 [277]
NameRADecTypeBmagVmagDimDreyer DescriptionIdentification
IC 59 00 57 28.5+61 08 37EN10.00 × 5.0pF, eL ! (nf γ Cassiop)LBN 620, Gamma Cas nebula
IC 63 00 59 29.0+60 54 40EN10.00 × 3.0pF, eL ! conn with np oneLBN 623, CED 4B, Gamma Cas nebula

Finder Chart

The Gamma Cassiopeiae Nebula is, as one might expect, in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is circumpolar for Central Europe and is highest at night in the months of July to January.

Chart IC 59/60
Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]


149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum; skysafariastronomy.com
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey; archive.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/dss_form
196Celestial Atlas by Curtney Seligman; cseligman.com/text/atlas.htm (2020-12-28)
206Gamma Casiopeia, 1890. Roberts, Isaac; ssplprints.com/image/106813/roberts-isaac-gamma-casiopeia-1890 (2021-05-18)
277«Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; klima-luft.de/steinicke (2021-02-17)
352IC 59 and IC 63 in Cassiopeia; science.nasa.gov/ic-59-and-ic-63-cassiopeia (2021-05-18)