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NGC 2261 - Hubble's Variable Nebula


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NGC 2261 was discovered by William Herschel in 1783 but bizarrely isn't a Herschel 400 list object. I was ecstatically happy with this observation of it last night (23rd jan). I was using quite lightweight kit (95mm APO) and low magnification (70x) but the view was really nice. Skies were SQM 20.91.

This object was on a target list of mine because it is recommended in a recent issue of either 'Astronomy Now' or 'Sky & Telescope' - i can't remember which.  Also thanks to my poor memory I was actually observing it in the moment without a preconceived idea of what i should see so i'm extremely pleased with myself (😇) to have observed it seemingly quite well. I couldn't see other nebula targets in this immediate vicinity so i assume this has the highest surface brightness in this area. It will be fun to observe this repeatedly to try and capture the variation - i'm not sure if the variation would overcome night to night variation in viewing conditions.


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Thanks again. I really enjoy this GnG kit @mikeDnight - so convenient when i know it will be a short session. Last night was Struve 742 and M1 the Crab Nebula in the same FOV at just 70x. Just three observations overall but this small scope enables that approach. Cheers

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