New nebula pops into view
Almost daily, "new" stars are discovered, and the IAU astronomical telegrams are quick to announce the discovery of the latest batch of supernovae. South Africa's supernova champion, Berto Monard of Pretoria, has a healthy crop of his own discoveries.
Far more rarely is a new nebula discovered. Starting with the thorough visual surveys by John Herschel in the 1830s, and the later application of photography for cataloging deepsky objects, pretty much everything nebulous has been found (but see footnote below).
Now, a German astronomer, Dr. Bringfried Stecklum, staff scientist of the Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, has picked up a new nebula which recently popped into view.
Archival images reveal only a starless bit of sky, as the 2001 image shows. In fact, the region is actually part of a dark nebula, LDN 1415. Enshrouded in the dark nebula, a young star has undergone sudden brightening as gas and dust were pulled in onto it, releasing bursts of energy. The subsequent brightening of the star lit up the surrounding nebula, revealed for the first time in the right-hand image. The nebula lies in the northern constellation Camelopardalis, so I won't be adding it to the DOC deepsky database soon ;-)
The discovery announcement and further details is available on the TLS website.
Numerous deepsky objects still await discovery, hidden in the images of, for example, the Palomar Sky Survey. Other deepsky objects hide in plain sight – small groupings of stars, visible in binoculars or a small telescope, that may in fact be old open clusters. One group that actively searches out these objects is the amateur collaboration known as the Deep Sky Hunters; you can browse their Yahoo! group for further details.
nothing more to see. please move along.