Although it may look like one, NGC-2261  is NOT a comet!!!!…. it is a very interesting and quite a different object! Here is my close-up photo of this cool object!
NGC 2261 (also known as Hubble’s Variable Nebula or Caldwell 46) is a variable nebula located in the constellation Monoceros. It is illuminated by the star R Monocerotis (R Mon), which is not directly visible itself.

NGC 2261 was originally imaged as Palomar Observatory’s Hale Telescope’s first light by Edwin Hubble on January 26, 1949.  Edwin Hubble studied this nebula at several other Observatories(Yerkes & Mount Wilson) as well….it is variable, changing in brightness and the dust clouds are occasionally blocking the light from R Monocerotis changing the appearance of the triangular shaped light you see in as little time as hours to as much as several weeks or even months.

It shines at about 9th magnitude in the constellation of Monoceros (The Unicorn) just East of Orion.  NGC2261 Hubble’s Variable Nebula is about 2,500 Light Years Away. You can just make out some the Variable dust clouds in this image.

This is a single 5 minute exposure at ISO 3200 with my Canon 6D DSLR, and my Homebuilt 16” diameter telescope from my observatories at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Best Regards,

John Chumack