Best of AOP - Diffuse Nebulae

NGC 2261: Hubbleʼs Variable Nebula

Comet!? No- this object was put into the correct category as a diffuse nebula. The bright star at the tip of the cloud of gas is called R Monocerotis. It is a variable star that is actually in the background of the   cloud of gas. The gas cloud is around 1 light year in extent and due to the variability of R Mon, the entire nebula changes in its brightness. However, R Mon is mysterious because the mechanism of its variations is uncertain. The most accepted explanation is that there exist clouds of gas and dust very close to R Mon and these clouds eclipse R Mon (as they orbit about it) casting shadows onto the foreground nebula.

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Last Updated: 11-Jun-2014

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About This Image

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20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.1

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Poor seeing.

An L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp was applied to the luminance image.

Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the very dim and very bright details of

the image simultaneously.

Luminance = 75 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Minimum credit line: Carole Westphal/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF