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 NGC/IC», «Historic NGC/IC», Version 2022-09-01, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
DesignationIC 2120
Right Ascension05h 19m 10.3s
Declination+38° 11' 06"
Dreyer DescriptioneF
Identification, RemarksComet Spitaler 1890!

Finder Chart

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

Auriga: IC 2120
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