slideshow 1 slideshow 2 slideshow 3 slideshow 4 slideshow 5 slideshow 6

You are here

Hubble's Variable Nebula, NGC 2261



Hubble's Variable Nebula

NGC 2261

One of the more fascinating objects in the sky, Hubble's Variable Nebula (named after the astronomer, not the telescope) is a small, compact cloud of gas that resembles a comet in appearance. At the point of the nebula is the variable star R Monocerotis. R Mon is surrounded by the material from this cloud. As the star itself varies in brightness, combined with thick portions of the cloud drifting near the star, the light being cast onto the remainder of the nebula changes. As a result, the entire nebula will also appear to change shape and structure. A keen visual observer will be able to see this nebula change in the eyepiece over the span of weeks and months.

These three images, taken more than two years apart with different telescopes, show how dramatically this nebula can change in appearance. More frequent imaging will reveal subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) changes in just a matter of days.



Top

Exposure: 2x 120s (r') 2x 180s (V) 2x 240s (B). Sigma-reject combined in MaxIm CCD. Final processing in Photoshop

Telescope: 48" f/8 reflector

Camera: KeplerCam CCD imager

Filter: Sloan r', Harris V and B

Constellation: Monoceros

Location: Whipple Observatory, Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, USA

Date: October 2006

Center Left

Exposure: 9x 60s. Sigma-reject combined in MaxIm CCD. Final processing in Photoshop

Telescope: 20" f/10 Maksutov

Camera: Finger Lakes "Dream Machine"

Filter: Clear

Constellation: Monoceros

Location: Vega-Bray Observatory, Benson, Arizona, USA

Date: March 2004

Center Middle

Exposure: 9x 60s. Sigma-reject combined in MaxIm CCD. Final processing in Photoshop

Telescope: 20" f/10 Maksutov

Camera: Finger Lakes "Dream Machine"

Filter: Clear

Constellation: Monceros

Location: Vega-Bray Observatory, Benson, Arizona, USA

Date: December 2005

Center Right

Exposure: 2x 120s (r'), 2x 180s (V), 2x 240s(B). Sigma-reject combined in MaxIm CCD. Converted to greyscale and final processing in Photoshop

Telescope: 48" f/8 reflector

Camera: "KeplerCam" CCD imager

Filter: Sloan r', Harris V and B'

Constellation: Monceros

Location: Whipple Observatory, Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, USA

Date: October 2006

Image scaled and resolution downgraded to match the other two images. Hazy skies resulting in a diffuse glow around the stars and nebula.

Page maintained by

PSI, a Nonprofit Corporation 501(c)(3), and an Equal Opportunity/M/F/Vet/Disabled/Affirmative Action Employer.
Corporate Headquarters: 1700 East Fort Lowell, Suite 106 * Tucson, AZ 85719-2395 * 520-622-6300 * FAX: 520-622-8060
Copyright © 2018 . All Rights Reserved.