Not a comet

With the Christmas lights problem any serious deep sky has to be a post midnight affair. With the moon now very late rising I decided to try for M78 as my previous attempt at it was in need of improvement but getting it into the field of the scope proved very troublesome. After a fair bit of frustration I eventually discovered the declination pointer was badly out of adjustment. Not quite sure how this had happened but after rectifying the problem time had marched on so I abandoned M78 as it was getting a bit too far over. I looked for something brighter and decided on NGC 2261 (Hubble's Variable Nebula). Residing in Monoceros the comet resembling nebula was discovered in 1861. It is a reflection nebula illuminated by R Monocerotis. Its noted variable brightness is believed to be a result of dust cloud obscuration. The session ended a bit prematurely when cloud appeared and ruined the good transparency. Details: 10" f4.3 Newt. 8 x 7 minute exposures @ iso1600 with CLS in DSS, FIV, CS2 & XAT.

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