Wednesday, December 07, 2016

caught a variable nebula (Halifax)

Looks like a comet.

The Burke-Gaffney robotic telescope imaged Hubble's Variable Nebula (or NGC 2261 or Caldwell 46) for me. It is a small nebula in Monoceros. Another of the RASC Finest NGCs. It is actually referred to as a variable reflection nebula as its brightness changes. It is believed to be due to changes in the brightness of the nearby star (or stars).

The somewhat bright point at the south edge of the nebula is interesting. Some refer to its as a variable star, R Monocerotis; others say it is just highly concentrated gas within the nebula.

RASC Finest variable reflection nebula NGC 2261 luminance

Luminance only, 60 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

There are problems in the bottom-left corner of the frame.

That's too bad. There's a double star there, south-west of the nebula. It's SLE 557. Two somewhat tight and equally bright stars. Very blurry in the image.


Wikipedia link: NGC 2261.

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