Hubble’s Variable Nebula NGC 2261 – Reflection nebula in the constellation Monoceros

The small reflection nebula NGC 2261 is illuminated by the young variable giant star R Mon, which is not directly visible but is hidden in the brightest part of the nebula. The nebula itself shows changes in its structure over periods of months and years. Most probably the shadows of dust clouds moving around R Mon cause variations in the brightness of the nebula.

larger image
Optics: Planewave CDK 12.5 with Televue 0.8x reducer
Aperture: 318 mm
Focal Length: 2030 mm
Camera: Alccd12
Exposure: 18 x 300 s
Location: Chamaeleon Observatory, Onjala Lodge, Namibia
Processing: PixInsight, Photoshop
Diameter:1 light year
Distance:2,600 light years
annotated image

image field in the sky