NGC 2261, Hubble's variable nebula
AAO image reference AAT 96.    « Previous || Next »

NGC 2261, Hubble's variable nebula, NGC2261.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 6 arc min
Image and text © 1993-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.

Hubble's variable nebula is in Monoceros and was the first object to be photographed with the famous 200 inch Hale Telescope at Palomar in 1948. This curious object is a reflection nebula in which is embedded the star R Monocerotis. Variations in the appearance of the nebula were noted by the American astronomer Edwin Hubble in 1916. They are probably caused by opaque clouds of dust passing between the hidden star and the outskirts of the nebula we see, the moving shadows changing the apparent form of the glowing dust in an irregular way. This picture was made from three AAT plates taken over several years and subtle colour changes around the edge of the nebula are indications of the variability, not of any change in the colour of the nebula.

Related Images
UKS 29.  The Cone nebula, Trumpler 5 and NGC 2261
Constellation of Monoceros (external site)

For details of photographic exposure, search technical table by AAT reference number.

galaxies | emission nebulae | reflection nebulae | dark nebulae | planetary nebulae | star clusters | stars | supernovae
50 Favorites | Messier objects | Repro conditions | Images site map | AAO images page

Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1