Notes on Selected Sharpless Regions

by Steve Gottlieb

Sharpless 2-005 (NGC 6357)

17.5: at 82x+0III-bright distinctive nebula, elongated 3:1 E-W, 4.0'x1.5'. A close mag 11/12 double star is at the S edge. The whole field appears weakly nebulous and the nebulosity is just very faintly visible without filter at 220x, excellent contrast gain with OIII!. A group of a dozen faint stars is just S (= Pismis 24) including a double star.

Sharpless 2-008 (NGC 6334 = Cat's Paw)

13: fairly easy nebulosity surrounds mag 8 star with UHC filter and extends 30' N. Ünusually large nebulosity, mostly visible surrounding stars and includes a close faint triple star.

Sharpless 2-031 (IC 1275)

17.5": at 100x and OIII filter appears as an easy nebulosity surrounding two mag 9 stars and several fainter stars. Located at the east end of a chain of nebulosities.
17.5": at 88x and UHC filter; fairly faint nebulosity surrounding a pair of mag 8 stars, smaller than nearby IC 1274. Located 16' N of N6559.

Sharpless 2-032 (IC1274)

17.5": located north of the N6559 nebular complex. At 100x and OIII filter appears as an irregular nebulosity surrounding a group of stars mag 8-9, roughly circular outline. Located about 20' N of N6559.
17.5": at 88x with UHC filter appears fairly faint, large, includes several stars with three or four brighter stars, irregular shape. Located 22' NNW of N6559.

Sharpless 2-037 (IC 1283/84)

17.5: at 100x unfiltered IC 1283 appears as a very faint, very large nebulosity, at least 10' diameter. Encompasses a mag 9 star and extends about 10' NE to merge with IC 1284 surrounding mag 7.6 SAO 161273. The illuminating star is 6' NE of reflection nebula N6589 and 8' N of N6595. At 88x and UHC filter appears as a very large, extensive nebulous region just NE of N6589 and N6595. Has an elongated, irregular shape. Includes a mag 7.5 star near the N end. IC 1284 is the northeastern section of the IC1283/1284 nebulosity surrounding mag 7.6 SAO 161273. Although brightest around the star, the nebula appears to nearly merge with IC 1283 stretching to the SW to a mag 9 star located 7' SW. Located less than 15' NE of the bright reflection nebulae N6589 and N6595.

Sharpless 2-068

17.5" (7/1/00): at 100x using an OIII filter, Sh 2-68 appears a very large, round, low surface brightness glow, perhaps 5'-6' in diameter. Requires averted vision but can be seen readily. The halo has a fairly crisp edge and surface brightness is uniform. Not seen unfiltered.
17.5" (8/1/86): at 83x and OIII filter appears as a very faint, very large, roundish glow, fairly sharp-edged. Can almost hold steadily with averted. Located 17' WNW of mag 6.9 SAO 123471. Recent 1983 discovery and possibly a HII region.

Sharpless 2-071

17.5: Sharpless 2-071 (originally catalogued as an HII region) was immediately picked up 100x using an OIII filter just casually sweeping the area. This is definitely a "showpiece" obscure planetary in dark skies and I pulled the rest of the observing group over for a look. 140x provided an excellent view as this 2' planetary (elongated N-S with a brighter northern end) appeared mottled with a noticeably irregular surface brightness.

Sharpless 2-082

17.5: at 100x this very faint nebulosity is roughly 6'x4' elongated N-S with an irregular outline. Extends between two mag 9.5-10 stars at 5' separation oriented N-S although difficult to trace borders as fades into background. The southern of these two stars is located 6' west of mag 7.2 SAO 104924. The nebulosity dims with an OIII filter.

Sharpless 2-084

17.5: at 100x with OIII filter; very faint, very large, very elongated E-W, ~12'x3'. Appears to extend between mag 8.0 SAO 105291 at the W end and a close double star oriented perpendicular to the nebula at the E end. Wider in the center and tapers at the ends. Located in a rich star field. Dubbed the "Little California Nebula".

Sharpless 2-086 (NGC 6820)

17.5: at 100x using OIII filter, open cluster N6823 is immersed in a faint nebulosity. Also extends 5'-10' SW from the core of the cluster to a group of stars which wasn't included in the description of N6823.

8": extremely faint nebulosity in field of N6823. Involves four stars in the N and two stars in the S side.

Sharpless 2-088

17.5: at 100x with OIII filter this emission nebula appears very faint, extremely large, very elongated ~3:1 SW-NE, roughly 25'x8', irregular shape, very ill-defined boundaries. Located in a rich star field with several stars superimposed. Possibly larger than the catalogued dimensions although the borders are not definite.

Sharpless 2-095 (NGC 6842)

17.5": fairly bright, moderately large, irregularly round, soft edges. A very faint mag 15.5 central star is visible and a second extremely faint mag 15.5-16.0 star is near the central star. Several stars are at the edges including a mag 15 star at the NE edge and two mag 13 stars just off the E side. Appears brighter around the central star.
13": at 62x and OIII filter appears moderately bright, moderately large, estimate V = 13.0. A mag 14.5 star is off the E edge. N6834 lies 38' WNW.
8": extremely faint, fairly small, diffuse. Located in a rich star field.

Sharpless 2-100 (NGC 6857)

17.5: very bright, moderately large, about 1' diameter, irregular outline, roughly circular but edges difficult to define, irregular surface brightness. The mag 13.5 central star is quite prominent offset N of center. Surrounded by four fours; a mag 12 star at the SW edge [40" from center], two mag 13 stars off the NE end [40" from center] and off the NW end [52" from center], a mag 14 star at the SE end. Located in a rich star field. Excellent contrast gain with OIII filter. Extremely faint nebulosity may extend to the E. This is a compact HII region within Sh 2-100 listed as a planetary in CGPN.

Sharpless 2-101

17.5": not seen with certainty at 100x without filtration. Using an OIII filter a fairly evident diffuse glow was visible surrounding a wide mag 7.5/9 pair (third fainter star between) and extending ~7' in a roughly circular outline. The glow was fairly uniform (slightly easier to the south of the bright pair) and extended nearly to a mag 11/12 pair ~4' south and a slightly less distance to the north, encompassing a mag 10.5 star. Situated within a very rich section of the milky way, although I easily identified the field using a GSC star chart.

Sharpless 2-105 (Crescent Nebula, NGC 6888)

17.5" (6/30/00): Stunning view at 100x (20mm Nagler) using an OIII filter. The outline appears as a huge, irregular cosmic egg sitting in a very rich Cygnus star field, ~18'x11', with the complete annulus easily visible. The brightest section is along the north side and passes through a mag 7.2 star at the north edge. This piece is shows much structure with several knots and wispy tendrils. An isolated bright knot is within the weakly glowing interior which has an irregular surface brightness and is on a line with the mag 7.2 star and the mag 7.4 central star. There are interior wispy striations which appear to radiate from the central star towards the NW rim at the end of the bright arc. The rim is widest on the SW end with more nebulosity filling in towards the center. The fine texture and structure of the nebulosity creates a 3-dimensional feel and an "electric" effect.
17.5": the "Crescent Nebula" is one of my favorite large nebulosities at 100x with a OIII filter (excellent contrast gain). Appears as a bright, 16'x11' oval or egg-shaped annulus elongated SW-NE. The rim is virtually complete except for a small piece of the east side and exhibits a great deal of turbulent, wispy structure. Brightest just SW of mag 7.2 SAO 69597 (unequal pair 7.2/10.5 at 14") which is embedded in the rim at the north end. The nebula also passes through mag 8.2 SAO 69611 on the NE side. Just north of center in the interior is the mag 7.4 Wolf-Rayet star HD 192163, whose strong stellar wind created this shocked ring-type nebula. This is beautiful nebulosity set in a very rich milky way field.
13": bright, large, oval shell, nearly complete loop visible with UHC, striking unusual appearance!
8": faint, elongated arc of nebulosity connecting two mag 7.5/8.5 stars and extending SW of the brighter star. Set in a very rich star field. Only the brightest portion at the north end of the nebula is visible.

Sharpless 2-128

17.5": at 105x with 0III filter; very faint, moderately large, round, can just hold steadily with averted vision. Viewing unfiltered, the faint central star is visible surrounded by a small halo, estimate V = 15.0. Located 12' E of mag 7.6 SAO 33485. This object is a possibly an planetary or emission nebula.

Sharpless 2-129

17.5: viewed at 100x and immediately drawn to a fairly rich group of brighter stars surrounding mag 5.6 HD 202214 that appears as a small bright cluster. This group is apparently encased in a hazy glow and locally brighter near the mag 5.7 star although this impression is probably affected by scattered light from the star group. With an OIII filter, this region still appears nebulous and extends to the E and NE for ~10'-15' in an irregular shape.

Sharpless 2-156 (IC 1470)

17.5: A previous observation from the mid-80's with a 13-inch compared this object to Hubble's Variable Nebula. This time I picked up the object at 100x using an OIII filter as a small, bright glowsurrounding a mag 12 star. The best view, though, was at 280x unfiltered. The involved star is attached at the north edge and the 1' oval nebula appears to hang off the south side of the star. Close west is a very close, evenly matched faint double star!

13: appears as a mag 12 star with a faint but easily visible oval nebula surrounding the star. Extends mainly SE with the 12th magnitude star at the tip. Visible without a filter. Similar to Hubble's Variable Nebula.

Sharpless 2-157

17.5: Recently at Fiddletown Ray Cash accidentally ran across Sharpless 2-157 which is a huge HII region not far from M52 and the Bubble Nebula. I wanted to check out this region more leisurely. The nebula was surprisingly easy at 100x using an OIII filter. It appeared as a faint, curving, graceful arc - very elongated N-S and bowed out on the following side. It extended north and south of a small open cluster, Mrk 50, which is off the W side. I'd estimate the size as 35'x8' with the brightest section showing subtle structure located near Mrk 50. A bright knot, Sh2-157a = Lynds Bright Nebula 537, is situated beyond the southern end of this arc. This knot was also picked up at 100x as a faint, ill-defined glow surrounding a mag 11 star with a couple of fainter stars possibly involved in the nebulosity. I had a good view at 105x (19mm) using an H-Beta filter which dims the illuminating star. The nebulosity appears circular, fairly crisp-edged, ~2' diameter. At 220x without a filter, the diameter increases to nearly 3', although the edge blends into the general haze of the huge HII region Sh2-157. The central star has a mag 13.5 companion close NW.

Sharpless 2-158 (NGC 7538)

17.5: fairly large elongated emission nebula 2.0'x0.75' oriented NW-SE. Surrounds two mag 11.5 stars oriented SW-NE (PA = 35°) with a separation of 30". The nebulosity extends SW of the pair and is brightest just W of the pair. A mag 15 star is at the SW end and a mag 14 star is 30" W of the southern mag 11.5 star. At 100x using an OIII filter the nebulosity is very bright and a fainter glow also extends E of the pair to a size of 3'x2'.

Sharpless 2-171 (NGC 7822)

17.5: very faint, very large nebulosity best viewed in 16x80 finder which gives better contrast with the surrounding sky. Appears elongated E-W and well at least 40' in size. At 82x, nebulosity clearly visible in region of a triangle of three mag 8-9 stars including mag 7.9 SAO 20996 at 00 00 58 +08 27.5 (2000). Large portion of field appears weakly nebulous, though not with certainty.

Sharpless 2-184 (NGC 281)

17.5" (10/17/98): spectacular view of this detailed HII region at 100x using an OIII filter. This 15' nebulous complex has a mushroom appearance and is separated into three main lobes apparently by dust. The brightest and largest lobe is following a triple star embedded near the center. There appears to be a much fainter detached piece off the south end of this lobe. Preceding the triple star is a section which is noticeably elongated and irregular in surface brightness fading to the NW. The section to the north is faintest and separated from the eastern lobe by a curving dark lane. There is a dark intrusion south of the triple star which appears to be due to obscuring dust.

Sharpless 2-185 (IC 59/63)

17.5: IC 59 is located 20' N of Gamma Cassiopeia. This nebulosity is larger than IC 63 but has a lower surface brightness. Easy with averted vision and appears large, elongated ~N-S, with a fairly even surface brightness. IC 63 lies 20' SE and has a distinct fan-shaped nebulosity extending E and NE with the vertex at the W end. The southern border (extending E-W) has a sharper edge. Best seen with OIII filter.

Sharpless 2-190 (IC 1805)

17.5: about 125 stars forming a bright, very large 40' field at 100x. In the center is an oval ring consisting of about 30 stars within a 4'-5' diameter including a bright 8th magnitude multiple star (Stein 368). The brighter stars in the outer region form a rough incomplete circular outline. Using 100x with an OIII filter, the associated nebulosity is clearly entwined within a large portion of the cluster.

Sharpless 2-212 (NGC 1624)

13": fairly bright, round, compact glow surrounding a small group of at least five stars using a UHC filter.

Sharpless 2-222 (NGC 1579)

13": fairly bright, circular, fairly small, appears brightest at the following edge. Forms an equilateral triangle with two mag 11.5-12 stars off the N and NE edges both 2' from center.

Sharpless 2-235

17.5: at 82x with using an Hß filter appears fairly faint though surprisingly bright as not seen with OIII filter or unfiltered. Slightly elongated NW-SE, large, about 6' diameter, even surface brightness. A group of about six stars which form a "V" asterism are superimposed. Located almost midway between a mag 8 star 15' NW and a mag 7 star 15' SE.

Sharpless 2-236 (IC 0410)

13: very faint nebulosity involved with open cluster N1893. The brightest portion is at the NW edge of cluster. A dark "hole" is just S of this nebulosity. More extensive nebulosity is suspected but difficult to confirm due to the general background haze of cluster. Enhanced with UHC and OIII filters.

Sharpless 2-237 (NGC 1931)

17.5: five stars (three brighter stars) located within a bright, small nebulosity of high surface brightness. A sixth very faint star is just outside the nebula. Dims with OIII filter so must have a predominant reflection component.
13: five stars involved including three close fairly bright stars. A fourth very faint star to the W, fifth very faint star NE and sixth extremely faint star W. Bright, high surface brightness nebulosity.
8: compact, striking nebulosity involving several stars.

Sharpless 2-238
(NGC 1554 = Hind's variable nebula = Struve's Lost nebula)

17.5: Hind's variable nebula is illuminated by T Tauri (9-13). At 100x and 140x (unfiltered) an extremely faint haze was highly suspected on the W or WSW side of T Tauri (mag 9) in the direction of a mag 14 star to the W (or slightly south). Not seen at 220x. No details visible (did not appear as an arc) but the sketch made at 100x exactly matches the orientation of the nebulosity with respect to T Tauri. No nebulosity noted on the E side of the star.

Sharpless 2-252 (NGC 2174/5)

17.5: very large, irregular nebulosity surrounding mag 8.0 SAO 78049. Dark lanes are evident W of the star, appears very streaky. A bright small unresolved knot is 3.2' ENE of the bright star using an OIII filter [this is N2175].

13: very bright with filter, very large, surrounds a mag 8 star, sky very dark off W side. The sky W of the star is mottled and streaky, bright region near the N edge.

Sharpless 2-273 (XMAS TREE, NGC 2264)

17.5" (12/28/00): besides the bright nebulosity extending SW of mag 4.7 S Monocerotis, most of the central region of the cluster was set against a weakly glowing background. At the southern end of the cluster (tip of the "Christmas Tree"), this low surface brightness glow was more evident and clearly extended beyond the tip towards the SE. The western edge of the weak glow forms an edge of the Cone Nebula. There is a lack of faint stars within the region of the Cone's dark lane but this area was not noticeably darker than the background sky further west.
17.5" (12/30/99): nebulosity was quite prominent to the SW of S Mon as well as a weaker glow in the vicinity around …954 at the south end of the cluster. At 100x (unfiltered) there appeared to be a slightly darker vacuity to the south of this star in the position of the Cone nebula but there is no sharp "edge" with the nearby nebulosity.
13" (11/5/83): very bright, very large scattered group, elongated N-S, striking Christmas tree shape. A bright multiple star 15 Monocerotis = S Mon (4.7-7.5 at 2.8" and companions) is at the base of the tree at the N end of the cluster and is surrounded by several stars. Easy nebulosity is visible which extends 10' SW of S Mon and includes a group of three brighter stars. The double star …954 = 7.1/9.6 at 13" is at the S end of the cluster. The Cone nebula extends S of …954 and "points" towards …954 (not seen).

Sharpless 2-279 (NGC 1973/75/77)

13: extensive bright nebulosity including N1975 and N1977, very large, elongated ~E-W. Involves several bright stars including 42 (V = 4.7) and 45 Orionis (V = 5.3). Irregular and detailed nebula with detached segments. Extends N-S beyond 42 Orionis. Located N of M42 and S of the bright cluster N1981.

Sharpless 2-288 (IC 466)

17.5: mag 12.5 star in an easy, very small, round nebulosity. Located 1.5' SSW of a mag 10.5 star. A wide pair of mag 10 stars lie 7' SW. Enhanced with a UHC filter at 220x.

Sharpless 2-292/96/97 (IC 2177 = Eagle)

13: at 62x and UHC filter appears as a very large, very elongated strip of nebulosity. At the N end is the open cluster N2335 over the Monoceros border. The southern portion is difficult to trace; it crosses into Canis Major and ends at an easily visible reflection nebula = Ced 90 surrounding a mag 8 star. Also includes nebula N2327 midway along the length. Sometimes referred to as the "Eagle" nebula.

Sharpless 2-301

17.5: at 130x with OIII filter appears as a bright 6' nebula with a sharper edge on the east side. Tapers towards the south end. A triangle of stars is involved. Mag 7.9 SAO 152499 lies about 5' SE.

13: bright, large, impressive nebulosity at 62x with OIII filter. Has an unusual triangular-shape, extends mostly NW of a mag 10 star. Also a star to the north may have a small halo, several stars superimposed. A mag 7.9 star lies 7' SE.