Lower’s Nebula

2021-02-06 Sh2-261 Lower's Nebula Stack_28frames_6042s

Sharpless 2-261

Magnitude: +10.0
Apparent size:30′ x 15′
Diameter:25.6 light years.
Distance:2,900 light years.

I took a chance on a 30% cloudy pre-sunset evening. The weather has not been suitable for astronomy recently at all and I’ll take what I can get. After it got dark – and just as my preliminary set up calibrations were completed – it swiftly clouded over.

I’m still imaging from home, despite the relatively low covid risk here in Australia, so I waited patiently and hopefully.

Lo and behold! around 10.30 pm the clouds abruptly dissipated – completely. 😁

So I got an hour and a half of data on Lower’s Nebula, Sh2-261, which is an emission nebula of ionised hydrogen gas, located about 9° north of the red giant star Betelgeuse.

Lower’s Nebula was not discovered until 1939, despite it’s relatively bright +10.0 magnitude.

The bright star (far left) is f1 Orionis, a Class B star visible to the naked eye at 4.96 magnitude.

Feature image date:2021-02-06
Exposure:100 minutes (28 stacked frames @ 215.6 sec)
Field of View:1.59° x 1.06° (up is 23.2 degrees E of N)


Location of Sh2-261 & Orion constellation in celestial sphere
Courtesy: nova.astrometry.net

Location of Sh2-261 in Orion constellation. It also shows the orientation of my camera.
Courtesy: nova.astrometry.net

If the Astrometry images do not appear it is because the Astrometry website is sometimes off line.


Telescope Details

SkyWatcher Esprit 120 mm apochromatic 3-element refractor; 840 mm f/l @ f/7.
Field flattener; ZWO Duo-band Hα (656nm) and OIII (500nm) filter.
SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount; ZWO ASI120 guide camera.
Imaging camera: ZWO ASI 071 MC Pro (CMOS 28.4mm 16 Mpx).
Software: EQMOD, PHD2, SharpCap, Gimp.
Observatory location: 34° South.

Images © Roger Powell

I’m a founder member of Macarthur Astronomical Society


  1. I watched the recording on Facebook of the Southern Sky Livestream with Dr Ángel R. López-Sánchez. It was interesting to see some objects not visible to me up north.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ángel is one of those rare professional astronomers who is also a very enthusiastic hands on backyard astronomer and accomplished astro-photographer, devoting a lot of his time to public outreach astronomy. Sometimes I wonder if he ever sleeps!

      Liked by 1 person

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