NGC 2261 (LBN 920) Bright Nebula in Monoceros
Located at: RA 06 hours 39 minutes 10 seconds, Dec +08 degrees 44 minutes 52 seconds
Size: 2.0' x 1.7' Magnitude: -- Class: Emission + Reflection (variable)
North is up
West to the right
8" f5 Newtonian reflector
ST-8XME, self-guided, binned 1x1, temp -20c, camera control MaxIm DL 4.56
Lumicon Deep Sky filter, 280 minutes (28 x 10 minute subs), 03/1/3/2008; seeing 2.1-3.5 FWHM per CCDStack
CCDStack 1.3.2, Photoshop 7.0
Rolling Roof Observatory, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 (+34d 13m 29s -118h 52m 20s)
NGC 2261 is also known as "Hubble's Variable Nebula", and is located about 47 minutes SSW of the 'Cone Nebula' in Monoceros. Images taken over time show changes in the structure of this fan-shaped nebulosity. See the 14.5" version.
From the NGC / IC Project:
Contemporary Visual Observation(s) for NGC 2261
NGC 2261 = Hubble's Variable Nebula = LBN 920 = Ced 83 = R Mon = HH 39 = PP 64 06 39 10 +08 44.7 Size 2x1 13.1" (1/28/84): Hubble's Variable Nebula is bright, small, fan-shaped 2:1 N-S and widest at the north boundary. The nebulosity tapers down towards 12th magnitude R Monocerotis at the south tip which appears to have a very small high surface brightness halo. The western edge (oriented NW-SE) is slightly weaker and more curved than the eastern edge which is sharper and straighter N-S. This is an impressive nebula with high surface brightness and interesting structure. 8": comet-like nebula extends from R Mon. - by Steve GottliebHistorical Research Notes / Correction for NGC 2261
NGC 2261 is often called "Hubble's Variable Nebula" as its variability was indeed first noticed by Hubble during his years at Yerkes Observatory. The nebula was discovered, though, by WH in 1783, and is the second of his new class of "planetary" nebulae. We know now that the nebulosity is actually enveloping a very young double star system, R Monocerotis. The star's variability was first noted by Schmidt (AN 55, 91, 1861). The variability of the nebula is probably the result of circumstellar clouds close to the stars casting shadows on the surrounding nebulosity. NGC 1554/5 (which see) around T Tauri is another example. - Dr. Harold G. Corwin, Jr.