Ghost Nebula (vdB 141)

vdB 141
vdB 141: Ghost Nebula in Auriga; Cassegrain 400 mm f/3 + STL 11000M; Luminance 280 min, RGB each 60 min; Observatory Oberes Schlierental, Obwalden; © 2020 Eduard von Bergen


This reflection nebula was discovered by Sidney van den Bergh in the «Palomar Sky Survey» photographic plates and included as No. 141 in his 1966 «Catalog of Reflection Nebulae». He classified the nebula as «Type I», i. H. the star illuminating the nebula is inside the nebula. He gave the brightness of the nebula on the blue photo plates with «F» (faint = weak), the color with «R» for reddish and absorption «Wk» (weak = weak). [307]

Physical Properties

vdB 141
vdB 141: Image taken with the Mayall 4 m telescope on Kitt Peak. T.A. Rector, H. Schweiker, NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, 2009 [256]

The star associated with the nebula is BD+67 1300 (TYC 4461-645-1) and is of spectral type G8. Measurements published in 2018 by ESA's Gaia spacecraft, launched in 2013, revealed that it is 1120 light-years away and moving towards us at 32 km/s. But there are other stars inside this molecular cloud, because it is a star-forming region. The visual brightness is given as 9.4 mag in the vdB catalogue, but Simbad has a brightness in the V-band of 10.8 mag. [145, 255]

In Fig. 2 on the right you can see the jet of a young protostar within the molecular cloud. The photo gives an idea of why vdB 141 was nicknamed "Ghost Nebula". Two ghosts raise their arms menacingly. Other nicknames are: «Spooky Nebula» or «Ghosts of Cepheus». There are other nebulae that have received a similar nickname: Little Ghost Nebula (NGC 6369), Ghost Head Nebula (NGC 2080), Ghost of Cassiopeia (IC 63).

Further infos at CDS: vdB 141

Finder Chart

VdB 141 is located in the western part of the Cepheus constellation, not far from ngc7023. The exact position in the eyepiece can be compared with the 1° closeup. Pay attention to the row of three with the distinctive double star in the middle, which shows the way to vdB 141. The constellation Cepheus is circumpolar, but it is highest in the sky in the months of May to December and the nebula can therefore be observed best then.

Chart Ghost Nebula (vdB 141)
Ghost Nebula (vdB 141) in constellation Cepheus. Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]

More Objects Nearby (±15°)


145SIMBAD astronomical database;
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
255«A study of reflection nebulae» van den Bergh, S.; Astronomical Journal, Vol. 71, p. 990-998 (1966); DOI:10.1086/109995
256Ghost Nebula, vdB 141; (2021-01-30)
307«Interstellar anatomy of the TeV gamma-ray peak in the IC443 supernova remnant» P. Dell’Ova1, A. Gusdorf, M. Gerin, D. Riquelme, R. Güsten, A. Noriega-Crespo, L. N. Tram, M. Houde, P. Guillard, A. Lehmann, P. Lesaffre, F. Louvet, A. Marcowith and M. Padovani; A&A Volume 644, December 2020; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/202038339