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By Glenn Chaple for the LVAS

NGC 2175 –Reflection Nebula in Orion Magnitude: 6.8 Size: 40’ X 30’

This month’s Observer’s Challenge, the Monkey Head Nebula, has an identity crisis where its NGC designation is concerned. Is it NGC 2174 as some star atlases and observer’s guides note, or is it NGC 2175 as stated in others? The dual identities arose from the fact that the nebula surrounds an open star cluster. Which, cluster or nebula, is the real NGC 2175? I’ll side with Stephen James O’Meara’s assessment of the situation. He researched the NGC 2174/2175 dilemma and, in his guidebook Hidden Treasures, asserts that the latter is the correct designation.
NGC 2175 is nestled in the extreme northeast part of Orion, not far from its border with Gemini. Its location is shown on the accompanying Wikisky map, where it’s identified as NGC 2174! O’Meara notes that NGC 2175 is better seen with binoculars than with large aperture scopes. If the latter is used, a nebula filter will help. Dark skies are a must.

While some sources ascribe the discovery of NGC 2175 to the Italian astronomer Giovanni Batista Hodierna in the middle of the 17th century, it was most likely discovered by the German astronomer Carl Christian Bruhns during a comet search around 1857. It lies at an approximate distance of 6400 light-years.

NASA (Wikisky)

Sky and Telescope

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