NGC 2261, Hubble's Variable Nebula
NGC 2264, The Christmas Tree Cluster
Contributor: Dany Duprez
A crop from the main image showing NGC 2261. The view is 20' across.
NGC 2261 is a reflection nebula (note the blue tinge in Dany's photo) lit by a variable star. It was discovered in 1783 by William Herschel, who called it 'fan-shaped'. More often likened to a comet, in its 'head' is the star R Monocerotis, discovered to be variable in 1861.
In 1916, Edwin Hubble compared photos of the nebula he had taken using the 24-inch refractor at Yerkes, with photos taken by other astonomers. He noted that both its brightness and shape changed over time, and it became known as 'Hubble's Variable Nebula'.
NGC 2261 was the first object to be photographed with the 200-inch Hale Telescope when it opened on Mount Palomar in 1948.
nothing more to see. please move along.