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RA: 04h 31m 4.5s
Dec: +26° 36′ 25″
Ch: MSA:161, U2:133, SA:5
Ref: Corwin (2004)
Mag: B=?, V=?
IC 2088 may be a plate defect on Wolf's plate, a very low surface brightness nebulosity that does not show up on the POSS1 plates, a photographic effect of some kind, or perhaps even the unresolved Milky Way. Whatever showed up on Wolf's plates is certainly not on the POSS1 today.
However, I hesitate to declare this a simple defect on the basis of POSS1 because Wolf's description, especially the orientation of the nebula along the plane of the Milky Way, is creditable. He may even have seen the California Nebula and gotten the position wrong -- though I doubt it. He gives the position only to a whole degree, and he would have to be several degrees off to have got NGC 1499.
It's possible, too, that he was simply seeing the Milky Way. He comments that "The nebula is separated from the Pleiades nebula by a star hole [sic], many degrees long and ranging from tau Tauri to xi Persei." This sounds to me like a description of a large dark cloud, or simply the falling off of the Milky Way as the Galactic latitude increases.
Or it could be as simple as uneven emulsion, or even vignetting, on his early plates. We need to examine them, if they still exist.
Here, for the record, is his full description from AN 4082, translated by Wolfgang Steinicke (thanks, Wolfgang!):
Another nebula [the others he mentions in this note are IC 1831 and IC 2177] being extended, too, but pretty diffuse -- perhaps due to its faintness -- and structureless, was found in Taurus with different small lenses. It measures at least 3 by 5 degrees; the longer axis lies in the direction of iota Tauri toward xi Persei. The nebula is separated from the Pleiades nebula by a star hole [a vacancy], many degrees long and ranging from tau Tauri to xi Persei. The center of the extended nebula is roughly at RA = 4h 35m, Dec = +27d [for 1855].
Ced 39 (IC 2088)
Position (1900): RA 4 37, Dec :+ 27
Spectrum of nebula: (not classified)
Classification: Nebulae without definite relation to certain stars - Background veil of a nebulous region (eg. the Taurus veil)
Size: (not given)
Notes: "IC 2088. Disc. Wolf 1906 (811). (630) Pl 31. R. A brighter part or the Taurus veil."
The Messier objects
The Bennett objects
The Caldwell list
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