Hubble’s nebula

Common name Designation Constellation  Star RA Dec
Hubble’s nebula NGC 2261 Monoceros R Mon 6hr 39m 10s +8° 45’
Hubble’s Variable nebula NGC 2261 in Monoceros. A detailed portrait by Mike Harlow. 2019 October 27th. Las Cumbres Observatory. 2.0M on Haleakala.

Hubble’s nebula was the first to be discovered (by William Herschel in 1783) and the star R Monocerotis was shown to be variable by Julius Schmidt in 1861. So why Hubble’s nebula? It was Edwin Hubble early in his career at Mount Wilson Observatory who studied photographic plates and spotted the variable appearance of the nebula itself over time. It is very well studied, having been photographed by Carl Lampland at Lowell Observatory from 1919 until 1951. A fine resume of the nature of this nebula by Dr. John Lightfoot can be found at and a super animation can be enjoyed at

This nebula is bright and accessible through the winter in the UK and is a particularly good introductory test object for the newcomer, before embarking on regular observation of fainter members of the class.


Hubbles Variable Nebula Observations

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