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Monkey Head Nebula

NGC 2174 (sometimes catalogued as NGC 2175)*

Proper NameMonkey Head Nebula
Messier NumberNone
NGC/IC NumberNGC 2174 (or NGC 2175)*
Right Ascension6h 9m 42s
Declination+20° 30' 0"
Distancec.6,400 light years
c.2,000 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +7.6
Absolute: -3.9
Mean DiameterApparent: 40'
Actual: c.75 light years
Associated Star(s)Open cluster NGC 2175
Optimum VisibilityJanuary
NotesNGC 2174 is a shining patch of nebulosity in the far northern reaches of Orion, forming a shape that roughly approximates that of a head seen in profile. This is a star-forming region, whose central parts are lit from within by a cluster of newly-formed stars usually designated NGC 2175.

* It should be noted that there is some debate about the application of the catalogue numbers NGC 2174 and 2175. Most sources agree that NGC 2174 is the Monkey Head Nebula, and NGC 2175 the open cluster within it, but this approach is not universally accepted. Some prefer an alternative approach, treating NGC 2175 as the nebula and the cluster in combination, with NGC 2174 referring to a small clump of nebulosity lying slightly apart from the main body of the Monkey Head Nebula.