Emission Nebula

Sharpless 252 – Monkey Head Nebula

NGC 2174, known as the Monkey Head Nebula, is a visually captivating emission nebula located in the constellation Orion, characterized by its intricate structures of ionized hydrogen gas illuminated by nearby young stars.

NGC 2174, also known as the Monkey Head Nebula, is an emission nebula located in the constellation Orion. It is situated near the border between Orion and Monoceros. The nebula is primarily composed of hydrogen gas that is ionized by the intense radiation from nearby hot, young stars. The intricate shapes and structures within NGC 2174 make it a visually captivating astronomical object, often photographed by amateur and professional astronomers alike.

Location of Object 4711

NGC 2174 is located near the famous and easily recognizable Belt stars of Orion, known as “Orion’s Belt.” These three prominent stars, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, form a distinctive part of the Orion constellation and serve as prominent landmarks in the night sky. Overall, the vicinity of NGC 2174 is rich in various celestial objects, including other nebulas, star clusters, and individual stars within the expansive Orion constellation.

Unique facts

  • NGC 2174 is commonly referred to as the “Monkey Head Nebula” due to the appearance of its intricate structures, which some observers interpret as resembling the head of a monkey. This whimsical nickname adds a touch of character to the nebula’s scientific designation.
  • NGC 2174 is classified as an emission nebula, predominantly composed of ionized hydrogen gas that glows in response to the energetic radiation from nearby hot, young stars. The vibrant colors emitted by the nebula, often seen in shades of pink and red, are a result of this ionization process.

Brightness and size

NGC 2174 exhibits a moderate brightness, with the ionized hydrogen gas within the nebula emitting light in response to the intense radiation from nearby young stars, creating a visually striking celestial display.
The physical size of NGC 2174 spans a region of space several dozen light-years in diameter. This size measurement encompasses the intricate structures and filaments of ionized gas that contribute to the nebula’s distinctive appearance.