Galactic Nebula IC 2120

Object Description

IC 2120
IC 2120: H-II region, no PN in Auriga; 500 mm Cassegrain f=3625mm / f7.2; SBIG STL11K; 105+3*30 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2011 Radek Chromik

The French astronomer Camille Guillaume Bigourdan discovered a small, faint nebula on December 8, 1890. John L. E. Dreyer included it 1910 in his «Second Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars» under the designation IC 2120. [196, 315]

IC 2120
IC 2120: Same image section in four different photographic surveys [147]

IC 2120 caused a bit of confusion: The «Strasbourg-ESO Catalog of Galactic Planetary Nebulae» published in 1992 lists IC 2120 as a possible planetary nebula under the designation PK 169-0.1. [141] In the 2001 edition of the same IC is listed as a misclassified PN with the note «compact H-II region». [146] Simbad also offers this version. [145] The «NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database» (NED) explains IC 2120 as a sighting of comet 113P/Spitaler, which was mistakenly mistaken for a nebula. [194] Sky Safari 6 thinks of IC 2120 that it is a non-existent deep sky object. [149] Even Wikipedia disagrees: The German edition brings the version of erroneous comets and references NED, while the French edition lists IC 2120 as a compact H-II region and is based on Simbad. [363, 364]

As you can see in the pictures, the small, round shape of IC 2120 with the star in the middle really looks like a planetary nebula, but it is a compact H-II region. Simbad gives 1388 parsecs (about 4500 light years) as the distance. [145] Other sources give 0.9 kpc to 1.86 kpc. [365]

«Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue» Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke, 2021 [277]
DesignationIC 2120
Right Ascension05h 19m 10.3s
Declination+38° 11' 06"
Dreyer DescriptioneF
IdentificationComet Spitaler 1890!

Finder Chart

The galactic nebula IC 2120 is located in the constellation Auriga, which is best visible from September to April.

Chart IC 2120
Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]


141Strasbourg-ESO Catalogue of Galactic Planetary Nebulae; A. Acker, F. Ochsenbein, B. Stenholm, R. Tylenda, J. Marcout, C. Schohn; European Southern Observatory; ISBN 3-923524-41-2 (1992); (2021-02-18)
145SIMBAD astronomical database;
146«Version 2000 of the Catalogue of Galactic Planetary Nebulae» L. Kohoutek, A&A Volume 378, Number 3, November II 2001; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361:20011162
147Aladin Lite; (2020-12-23)
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
194NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED); (2020-12-27)
196Celestial Atlas by Curtney Seligman; (2020-12-28)
277«Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)
315«Second Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars; containing objects found in the years 1895 to 1907, with Notes and Corrections to the New General Catalogue and to the Index Catalogue for 1888–94» Dreyer, J. L. E. (1910); Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 59: 105–198; Bibcode:1910MmRAS..59..105D
363Wikipedia (deutsch): IC 2120; (2021-05-26)
364Wikipedia (français): IC 2120; (2021-05-26)
365«KINEMATIC DISTANCES OF GALACTIC PLANETARY NEBULAE» A. Y. Yang, W. W. Tian, H. Zhu, D. A. Leahy, and D. Wu; Published 2016 March 23; The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Volume 223, Number 1; DOI:10.3847/0067-0049/223/1/6