The object taking a bow in today's APOD is a planetary nebula! Starsurfer must be happy!
I like the image, too. The outer halo is very impressive. I have to wonder if it is blue for real. It might be, or at least it might be blue-green from OIII. The pink parts are almost certainly pink from Hα emission.
As I was checking NGC 6543 with my software, I found to my surprise that there seemed to be another
planetary nebula right next to the Cat's Eye. This other planetary nebula is called IC 4677. Even Simbad's Astronomical Database recognizes IC 4677, but informs us that IC 4677 is a part of NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye! You can see IC 4677 in today's APOD. It is the brightest part of the outer halo of the Cat's Eye, to the right in today's APOD.
I'm sure nobody cares but me, but my software tells me that the central star of the Cat's Eye Nebula is indeed blue, not just intrinsically blue but "visually blue" as well, so that most of the light that reaches us from this star at its 3,000 light-years away residence is indeed blue. The white dwarf central star of NGC 6543 is designated HD 164963, its magnitude is 11.3 and its B-V magnitude is as blue as -0.2, within the limits of uncertainties. Okay, I know, I should shut up about this already!
There is a nice galaxy to the left of the Cat's Eye Nebula, NGC 6552. According to Principal Galaxy Catalog, NGC 6552 may be about 350 million light-years away! So it is not only the Cat's Eye that is far away. NGC 6552 is faint enough (magnitude 14) that it hasn't had its colors measured, apart from its B magnitude and its far infrared magnitude. It appears to be dusty, to be sure: it is almost two magnitudes brighter in far infrared than in blue light. Strangely, though, it doesn't look
dusty, since its bar is so big and bright and straight and its ring is so round and regular. Perhaps NGC 6552 is reddened by dust in our own galaxy. And if it is as far away as 350 million light-years, it is bright, too, more than twice as bright as the Milky Way. To all accounts, NGC 6552 is a big, bright and likely quite yellow barred spiral galaxy. It resembles NGC 266
. The picture of NGC 266, if you follow the link, is by Gert Gottschalk and Sibylle Froehlich/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF.