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JeremyS

A Century of Hubble’s Variable Nebula - this week

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A century ago this week, Edwin Hubble announced his discovery of the variability of the nebula NGC 2261 in Monoceros. His brief paper on “CHANGES IN THE FORM OF THE NEBULA N.G.C. 2261”, was received by the journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on March 9th 1916.  A more detailed analysis was published a few months later in the Astrophysical Journal.

A recent BAA news article on the nebula and how to observe it was posted by Stewart Moore, “Hubble's Variable Nebula: A deep sky object that does something”, at https://www.britastro.org/node/7090 

Jeremy
 

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Jeremy

Very good read thanks for the post. I am going to add these to my list over the next 2 or 3 weeks.

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I've tried to find this target a couple of times but failed miserably. Time to give it another go methinks.

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It is on this image of the Christmas Tree/Cone at the top right.

Peter

Image2_final.jpg

Edited by PeterCPC
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Interesting article, thanks for posting. I have seen the distinctive comet-like shape, but not often enough to detect variability. Should give that a shot.

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The other mentioned NGC object, 6729 will be very tricky, only available for about a month of the year to me as it is so low to the southern horizon. Hubble's however shall be attempted at the next dark site visit 

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A fascinating object. Seen it several times with 8" SCT and 12" dob. Easy to find near Christmas Tree cluster, but never actually detected any visible change from the conspicuous 'comet' shape.

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Yes, very nice to commemorate Hubble's contribution, and also spare a thought for William Herschel who discovered it. It's an easy object from a dark site, but detecting variability requires photography, which is why no one noticed it until Hubble. The variability is caused by a "searchlight" effect of starlight shining through a slowly changing dust cloud.

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