MyCn 18 – The Engraved Hourglass Nebula

MyCn18 Engraved Hourglass Nebula
The Engraved Hourglass Nebula or MyCn 18. This artificially colorized image was taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA, R. Sahai, J. Trauger (JPL), and The WFPC2 Science Team.

MyCn 18, also known as the Engraved Hourglass Nebula or simply the Hourglass Nebula, is an awe-inspiring celestial object with a unique and intricate design. This stellar beauty, located in the constellation Musca, showcases intricate patterns that are nothing short of exquisite. In this article, we will explore the intricate design of MyCn 18 and marvel at its stunning beauty.

Hourglass Nebula Location

The Engraved Hourglass Nebula or MyCn 18 is located around a dying star about 8,000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Musca. Not to cause confusion, but there is also a less-famous “Hourglass Nebula” located inside the Lagoon Nebula.

Musca Constellation Map IAU
Musca Constellation Map. Credit: IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg). License: CC BY 3.0.

Discovery of MyCn 18

The Engraved Hourglass Nebula was discovered by American astronomers Annie Jump Cannon and Margaret W. Mayall. Together they published a 39-object catalog named MyCn, after their last names. At the time it was known a as small faint planetary nebula, but with the advancement of telescopes Romano Coradi and Hugo Schwarz of the ESO (European Southern Observatory) discovered the hourglass shape of the nebula in 1991-1992.

Admiring the Exquisite Hourglass Nebula

The Engraved Hourglass Nebula is one of the most spectacular examples of the stunning beauty of the universe. Its intricate and delicate design has captivated astronomers and stargazers alike, and it is not difficult to see why.

MyCn 18 is a planetary nebula, which means it is the product of a dying star shedding its outer layers as it approaches the end of its life. However, this nebula is unique in its shape, resembling an hourglass that has been finely engraved with intricate patterns. Its beautiful design is truly awe-inspiring and has led to much fascination and study of this stunning celestial object.


In short, the Engraved Hourglass Nebula is truly an awe-inspiring beauty that never fails to impress. Its intricate design, unique features, and fascinating history make it a favorite among astronomers and stargazers alike. From its stunning hourglass shape to its delicate etchings, MyCn 18 is a true masterpiece of the cosmos.

As we continue to explore the wonders of the universe, we can take comfort in knowing that there are still countless marvels like this waiting to be discovered and admired. Whether you’re an astronomy enthusiast or simply a lover of beauty, this nebula is a sight that should not be missed. So the next time you gaze up at the night sky, take a moment to appreciate the sheer brilliance of this remarkable celestial object.

Would you like to receive similar articles by email?

Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *