Hubble Heritage Project's First Annivesary. A View of Hubble's Variable Nebula (NGC 2261)
Depicts: NGC 2261, Hubble's Nebula
Copyright: NASA/The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
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Hubble's variable nebula is named (like the Hubble telescope itself) after the American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, who carried out some of the early studies of this object. It is a fan-shaped cloud of gas and dust which is illuminated by R Monocerotis (R Mon), the bright star at the bottom end of the nebula.
Dense condensations of dust near the star cast shadows out into the nebula, and as they move the illumination changes, giving rise to the variations first noted by Hubble.
Last Update: 1 September 2019