Hubble’s Variable Nebula

Hubble's Variable Nebula
Hubble’s Variable Nebula


I send this time a most interesting nebula for amateur-astronomers,
the light- variable Hubbles nebula! Info on my sketch.
The observation was made from Trondheim, Norway.
I used color-crayons on black paper.

Have a good time and dark sky from Per-Jonny Bremseth.
N.B. : In Norway it is summer, and the sky is light, so nothing to see of stars!

A Nebulous Study

Hi all,

Sydney’s skies have been terrible for a long time. Finally tonight we got a clear, cloudless and dewless night. And I wasn’t going to let a little Moonlight get in the way.

As Sydney’s skies are also loaded with light pollution, the full potential of the Eta Carina nebula isn’t realized. The Homunculus Nebula isn’t visible at 29X – it’s too small. However, its distinctive colour is visible, it is the bright, orangeish star.

This sketch was more a case of blowing out some cobwebs from my pencil case. Modest gear, short time, and a refreshing ale. A target I wish to revisit in the coming New Moon from a dark site.

Object: NGC 3372, Eta Carina Nebula
Type: Emission nebula
Scope: 8” f/4 Newtonian, dob mounted
Gear: RKE 28mm (29X) and OIII filter
Location: Sydney
Date: 23rd March, 2011
Conditions: Awful Sydney sky + last ¼ Moon.
Media: White pastel, black & white charcoal, white and coloured ink on black paper


Alex M.

Hind’s Variable Nebula

NGC 1555
“Hind’s Variable Nebula”
Reflection Nebula
Ilford NSW Australia
56cm f5.0 dobsonian telescope
Field: 29′
Magnification: 166x
Sky Quality Meter reading: 21:60

Black Canford paper
White pen
White pencil
White pastel chalk
Paint brush

This somewhat mysterious reflection nebula was discovered by John Hind in 1852.
It began to fade in 1861 due to the wide fluctuations in brightness from the illuminating star T Tauri.
By 1868 it had disappeared from view to even the largest telescopes.
It was not observed again until 1890 when Edward Barnard and Sherburne Burnham managed to locate it.
Since the 1930s it has been gradually brightening but remains an observational challenge to deep sky observers.

In my 56cm dob the nebula could only just be seen as a diffuse patch about 1.0′ x 0.8′ in size just of to the lower right of T Tauri (top star).
Whether you can see it or not will depend on your monitor screen.

T Tauri is an irregular variable star around 600 ly away that can range from magnitude 9.0 to 14.0 in brightness.

I also noticed that the mag 8.4 star HD 27560 towards the bottom of the sketch seemed to have a very faint haze around it, which was either some light fog on the eyepiece, or the region around it may contain an amount of interstellar dust.

Incidentally a nebulosity was reported by Otto Struve in 1868 and known as “Struves Lost Nebula” in the vicinity of Hind’s Variable Nebula and given the catalogue number NGC 1554 by Dreyer.
The nebulosity was not seen by observers after Struve’s discovery and has not been located since.
Some Catalogues such as Sky Atlas 2000.0 group NGC 1554 and NGC 1555 together as a single object.
The Palomar Sky Survey plates do not show anything at the reported position.
It is possible that the Lost Nebula may have been a transient portion of the reflection nebula in this section of the sky.

Scott Mellish

Giant Eruptions of Eta Carina

Eta Carina star & Key hole nebula
2010.7.15 19:00~22:00
Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia
Trans 6/6, Seeing 4/5, Limiting Mag. 6.5
Obssesion 18″ UC (f=1915mm)
Televue Ethos 13mm (147x)
Black paper(A4 size) and pastel.

Last July, I went to Australia with obssesion 18″ UC to observing star.

(My hometown is S.Korea)

During my observation trip, lots of cloud covered with Australia.

So we rented a car, and moved everyday to find clear sky. (Goondiwindi, Miles, Coonabarabran)

Eta Carina star is incredible!!!

It is not difficulty for observe erupted materials from Eta Carina star.

I did’n expect observing “Giant eruptions”, but I observed this feature with 18″ UC and extremly clear sky

(I saw belt of venus and zodiacal light every night)

Key hole nebula is clear and impressive dark nebula beside Eta Carina star.

Kanguk Cho, Nightwid

Stellar Lantern: Another Gem From La Palma

Stellar Lantern: Another Gem From La Palma

Sketch and Details by Serge Viellard, translation by Frank McCabe

On the second night of observing (using the 16″scope at La Palma), it is the splendour of Orion that held my attention. The Orion nebula, Horsehead nebula, and also the Rosette will remain tremendous observations with regrets for lack of time to sketch them…..
With only a very limited amount of time (minutes) I was able to sketch the Hubble Variable nebula (NGC 2261)….

Blood Red Star

Blood Red Star

Varible star U Cygni
Sketch and Details by Math Heijen

Observing report

I read a few reports on the Internet last week, about U Cygni being a spectacular blood red star at the moment. On the night of the 18th of august it was clear outside, so I decided to go for it! I first tried to locate it with my 15×80 binoculars and the SkyWindow, but without success. But with the 300mm Dobson and the 35mm Panoptic (46x) the dim red star was immediately visible, next to an 8th magnitude white star (HIP100230), a striking pair with a beautiful contrast. U Cygni and HIP100230 are separated by only 1 minute of arc. As usual, I first tried all possible magnifications, but the 22 Nagler showed this little gem at its best. As other observers stated this week, U Cygni indeed was bright red, like a sparkling drop of blood. Simply amazing to really see a star as red as U Cygni with your own eyes. Very impressive! For more details on this observation and others, visit my website.

Date/ Time : 18/08/09 / 23.00

Observing location : Landgraaf (Netherlands)

Seeing / Transparency : 3 / 5

Telescope : Orion Optics UK 300mm

Eyepiece : 22mm Nagler Type 4

Magnification / Field of view ‘ : 72 / 68

Best regards,

Math Heijen

Blood Red Sun

Hind’s Crimson Star

Hind’s Crimson Star
By Wade V. Corbei

R Leporis – Hinds Crimson Star

This is the first time I have observed Hind’s Crimson Star, and I have to say that it is indeed adequately named. A variable star found in the constellation Lepus, Hind’s Crimson Star (R Leporis) is a very deep red/crimson variable star that stands out among the white stars nearby. I have long been a fan of the Garnet Star (Mu Cephi); but I have to say that Hind’s Crimson Star displays its namesake coloration to its fullest extent.

If you have never taken a moment to observe R Leporis, you will want to do so…or just revisit it and take a looksie if this is not a new object for you.

Eta Carinae from Haleakala

Eta Carinae Complex and NGC 3293
By Jeremy Perez

Move mouse over image to see labels. Click for larger image.

The observing highlight of an evening atop the summit of Haleakala in Maui was gazing through my binoculars at the rich starscape in the vicinity of Eta Carinae. I had not done any homework on the area beforehand, so I approached it with unexpecting eyes. The mottled depths of the surrounding Milky Way, the smattering of intensely bright foreground stars, the abundance of open clusters of all shapes, sizes and intensities, and the stunning patches of glowing nebulosity made the whole region a delicious feast for the eyes. One incredible open cluster to the northeast, nearly took my breath away, but I did not have time to even attempt a sketch of it. Instead, I chose to render the region bracketed by the Eta Carinae complex and a much more manageable cluster, NGC 3293.

Eta Carinae was a brilliant orange star that surrounded itself in a plush comfort of nebulosity. This misty region ended abruptly to the south and then emerged again to surround a trio of bright stars. The observation and sketch were done more hastily than I would have liked and I know there was more detail to be extracted from this bright nebula, but I took what I could get. The northwest side of the view was punctuated by the small, bright open cluster, NGC 3293. Four bright stars announced themselves within its glowing boundary of unresolved starlight.

This section of the sky is still beckoning me, and I know I will have to return to it again with more time to spare. Even if I only have binoculars again the next time, it will still offer more than I can possibly absorb.

The sketch was created on Strathmore sketch paper with 2H and HB pencils. Nebulosity was shaded with a blending stump loaded with graphite. Color was added to Eta Carina in Photoshop.

Object Information

Eta Carinae is one of the most massive stars in the universe and is likely greater than 100 solar masses. It is about 4 million times more luminous than the sun, but radiates 99% of this energy in the infrared. Due to its extreme mass, it is expected to go supernova within the next few hundred thousand years. In the meantime, as it rapidly sheds matter, it goes through sporadic, violent outbursts. The most recent outburst peaked in 1843 when Eta Carinae became a magnitude -1 star, second only to Sirius. This eruption generated a rapidly expanding plume of gas that now forms a fascinating dumbell shape.

Dance of the Dwarfs

Krueger 60 A and B 

Krueger 60 A and B 

 I began observing and recording the position angle of Krueger 60 A and B also
called ADS15972 during the fall of 1978. In another 15.5 years I will have
observed these close orbiting red dwarf binary stars through one complete orbit.
This pair of stars also demonstrates an annual proper motion westward of nearly a
second of arc. Both of these stars are M class and are among the 40 nearest stars
to earth at just 13.1 light years. The current separation between the pair is 2.3”
of arc. In actual measurement the components are 9.2 AU apart which is about the
distance between the Sun and Saturn. The smaller component B is less than 10% the
mass of our sun and is famous for its irregular flare outbursts which can last for
10 minutes as the brightness doubles. The A component star is magnitude 9.8 and
the B component glows at magnitude 11.3. Both stars are in the constellation of
Cepheus about 45 minutes of arc from Delta Cephei which is famous as the prototype
for all Cepheid
 variable stars.
  Date and Time: 9-23-2007, 5:10-5:45 UT
  Scope: 10” f/5.7 Dobsonian.  12mm eyepiece 121x
  8”x12” white sketching paper, B, 2B graphite pencils, scanned and inverted, star
  brightness adjustments using Paint
  Averted vision was a very useful aid in this sketch.
  Seeing: Pickering 8/10
  Transparency: above average 4/5
  Nelm: 4.8
  Frank McCabe

Little Man Big

Homunculus Nebula 

The Homunculus Nebula is one of my personal favorites when it comes to southern
hemisphere deep sky objects. I was favored with good seeing conditions one evening
and attempted a sketch using a soft lead pencil.

The Homunculus (Latin for “little man”) surrounds the notoriously variable star Eta
Carinae. Using a 4mm Plossl with a twelve inch f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain (~760X), this
peculiar reflection nebula resembled a pale yellow bipolar planetary nebula. At
times, I thought the bipolar lobes appeared as a weak reddish color but I could
never hold the sight long enough to be certain. The disc was quite irregular in
shape and displayed much subtle detail. Eta Carinae was also of a subtle yellowish
tint. Indeed, Eta is included in the list of “red” stars compiled by George Chambers
back in the late 19th century.

The ASOD drawing was copied from the original sketch using Photoshop. The airbrush,
blurring and dodging tools were used.

Dave Riddle
Smyrna, Georgia USA

A star in the guise of a comet

Hubble’s Variable nebula

Here is a sketch of NGC 2261, the Hubble’s variable nebula.

Some informations :

– Telescope : Dobson Lukehurst 495/2032, Pentax XW 7 mm (x290), no filter.
– Date : 30/10/06, 04:00 UT.
– Place : Nailly, Yonne, France.
– Sky : not transparent (lim. magnitude about 5,0) but with very good seeing.

A draft was made during the observation, then I made two sketches : one with the stars, the other with the nebula (on a white paper and with a lead pencil). Then, I scanned the two sketches and saved negative pictures. The picture with the nebula was colored in a light green. And finally, I added the two images.  The sketch is not perfect : the east side of the nebula was more luminous than the west side – it is not obvious in the sketch. But the color of the nebula seems (to me) well shown.

Bruno Salque

Here’s a link to a archived post on Astronomy Picture of the Day that discusses some of the fascinating aspects of Hubble’s variable nebula.