Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405)

IC 405
IC 405: Flaming Star Nebula in Auriga; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2, SBIG STL11K; 120+3*40 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2011 Radek Chromik

Object Description

IC 405 was discovered on 21 March 1892 by the German-American astronomer Johann Martin Schäberle and in the same year was spotted by the German astronomer Max Wolf and in October by the Hungarian astronomer Eugen von Gothard.

IC 405 is an emission and reflection nebula. The strong UV radiation of the irregular Orion variable, about six magnitudes bright star star AE Aurigae (HR 1712, HIP 24575) is responsible for the glow. This star, however, had not formed in the nebula. AE Aurigae is a runaway star, which is noticeable due to its high space movement of 113 km/s. This could be traced back to the Orion Nebula, from which it is about 60 degrees separated today. About 2.6 million years ago, a near collision of two binary star systems caused AE Aurigae to be ejected from the trapezoid cluster in the Orion Nebula. Other stars that are believed to have originated from this event are μ Columbae and 53 Arietis. The binary star system ι Orionis could have been the other half of this near-collision. According to another theory, a supernova explosion could have been responsible for this. [196, 298] The distance from the star AE Aurigae is given as 405 to 548 parsecs (approx. 1300 to 1800 light years). [145]

IC 405, IC 410, IC 417
IC 405, IC 410, IC 417: H-II Region in Auriga. STScI Digitized Sky Survey [147]

Other objects that seem to belong to the same molecular cloud are: NGC 1931, IC 410 and IC 417. The distance from IC 417 to Earth is about 2.19 kpc, around 7100 light years. The distance from the star AE Aurigae, which is responsible for the flame star nebula IC 405, is given as 405 to 548 parsecs (approx. 1300 to 1800 light years) and is therefore much closer. [145] Either the distance information is incorrect, the nebula area is much larger, or it is a matter of different nebulae that lie in the same viewing direction.

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
DesignationIC 405
Right Ascension05h 16m 29.4s
Declination+34° 21' 22"
Diameter30 × 20 arcmin
Photographic (blue) magnitude10.0 mag
Metric Distance0.460 kpc
Dreyer Description* 6.7 with pB, vL neb
Identification, RemarksLBN 795, CED 42, in Sh2-229 (Flaming Star nebula)

Finder Chart

IC 405 is located in the southern part of the Auriga pentagon. The best observation time is September to April.

Chart Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405)
Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405) in constellation Auriga. Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]

More Objects Nearby (±15°)


145SIMBAD astronomical database; simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad
147Aladin Lite; aladin.u-strasbg.fr/AladinLite (2020-12-23)
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum; skysafariastronomy.com
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey; archive.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/dss_form
196Celestial Atlas by Curtney Seligman; cseligman.com/text/atlas.htm (2020-12-28)
277«Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; klima-luft.de/steinicke (2021-02-17)
298«On the origin of the O and B-type stars with high velocities II Runaway stars and pulsars ejected from the nearby young stellar groups» R. Hoogerwerf, J.H.J. de Bruijne, P.T. de Zeeuw; arXiv:astro-ph/0010057; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361:20000014