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NGC 1982 (3,761 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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de Mairan's Nebula

NGC 1982, Messier 43, Ced 55g, de Mairan's Nebula, III 1, GC 1185

RA: 05h 35m 31s
Dec: −05° 16′ 12″

Con: Orion
Ch: MSA:278, U2:225, SA:11


(reference key)

Type: bright nebula (HII region)

Mag: B=?, V=?

Size: ?
PA: ?

History and Accurate Positions for the NGC/IC Objects (Corwin 2004)

NGC 1982 = M 43. For this, and many other emission or reflection nebulae with clearly identified embedded stars, I have adopted the position of the star as that for the entire nebula. This follows the precedent set by the visual discovers who noticed that many of the nebulae are usually (though not always) brightest in the vicinity of the stars.

There is a curiosity in the NGC listing for M 43. WH's first "Very Faint" nebula is in the vicinity, so GC and NGC suggest that it might be equivalent. This probably bothered Dreyer a bit, as he added a note to WH's observation when he edited the Complete Papers: "III 1 is an appendage to the north of M43." WH's own observation seems to support this, and it is well-known, too, that he tried to not include any of Messier's nebulae or clusters in his own lists (though several did creep in, including M8, M20, and M82).

Historical observations

NGC/IC Dreyer (1888, 1895, 1908)

Described as a remarkable object, very bright, very large, round with a tail and much brighter in the middle, this diffuse nebula is better known as Messier 43. Messier described it as a "star surrounded by nebulosity, 7 seconds north of the great [Orion] nebula." It is also known as Mairan's Nebula.

William Herschel (c.1784)

Synonyms: H III-001

On 3 November 1783, William Herschel, observing with an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope, logged III-1 as an appendage to the north of M 43. He called it "vF, S, mE. In the large neb."

Published comments

Cederblad, S. (1946) [VII/231]

Ced 55g (NGC 1982)

Position (1900): RA 5 30.6, Dec - 5 20

Star: 5 1325 (Mp=9.1:, V=9.1:, SpT=O7, B8)

Spectrum of nebula: continuous and emission spectrum (observed)

Classification: Neb associated with mainly one star (which may be multiple) - star surrounded by a neb envelope with conspicuous structure (eg. IC 5146)

Size: (not given)

Notes: "Ced 55 g = NGC 1982 = GC 1185 = H III 1 = M 43. Disc. Mairan 1731. WP 67. (114, 252, 261, 294, 544, 578, 599, 791, 894). R. -5 1325 = HD 37061 = Bond 734. Ced 55: The Orion region. History and bibliography: (118, 119, 186, 188, 191, 276, 352). The nebulous groundwork and the exterior nebulosities: (20, 21, 26, 53, 58, 78, 142, 143, 186, 191, 206, 207, 278, 279, 281, 282, 289, 305, 312, 438, 480, 519, 540. 541, 593, 594, 595, 620, 625, 628, 630 Pl 34, 663, 675, 715, 726 No 41, 769, 782, 802, 818). R. It is shown on several photographs, e.g. (630) Pl 34, that the whole region of the constellation Orion is filled up by vast masses of nebulosity. As is well known, there are several condensation which seem to stand out from the general background, and which have been separately discovered and studied. Such subnebulae, will be individually discussed below. Taken as a whole, No 55 of the catalogue should be classified as C. 2 in addition to the separate classes of the subnebulae."

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a diffuse nebula.

Roger N. Clark (1990)

See also "Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky" by Roger N. Clark (1990, Sky Publishing Corporation) page 98.

Modern observations

Callender, John (1997)

Observer: John Callender

Instrument: 8-inch Dobsonian reflector Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA

Light pollution: light Transparency: good Seeing: poor

Time: Sat Mar 1 04:45:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 81

An easy glow in the 8-inch while observing M42.

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, using a 13" f/5.6, notes: " Bright, large, irregularly round, central star of 8th mag easy at 100X. This detached potion of the Orion Nebula is shaped like a fat comma. Going to 220X, there are several dark lanes across the face of this nebula."

Steve Coe (Glendale, Arizona, USA) observing with a 17.5-inch f/4.5, writes in The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 10, July 1992: "These [M42 & M 43] compromise what I believe is the most observed object in the Winter skies. This nebulous field is visible as a smudge to the naked eye, and is the apparent centre object in the Sword of Orion. The brightness, ease of location and overall beauty makes this a showpiece in everyone's telescope. My telescope shows the nebula to be a pale lime green colour with pink fringes. The dark area near the centre that contains the Trapezium stands out clearly and dimmer sections show a mottled effect, much like clouds."

Steve Gottlieb

05 35.6 -05 16

13: large detached piece of M42, mottled outer region, very bright center.

Has a large rotated "comma" shape with a dark indentation on the E side. A

mag 8 star is embedded.

8: fairly large, irregular, protrudes to the NE, includes a bright star.

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "9M; 20'x 15' extent; irregularly shaped emission/reflection nebula; companion and adjacent to M-42; OPN CL N1981 25' due N."

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf

2007 April 15

Sutherland (Ouberg Quarry)

11x80 tripod mounted binoculars

Conditions: NELM: fainter than 6.0 at the S.pole

Moderately bright (7V) star surrounded by a readily-seen ~1' haze. Lies just north of the Great Orion Nebula.

Richard Ford

2011 March, 26th Saturday

Location:Night Sky,Bonnievale.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:Whole Milky Way is visible.

Transparency of the Sky:The sky is clean.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Limiting Magnitude:Magnitude 6.



Object Type:Nebula.

First Impression:This object looks like a cloud of gas and dust.



Chart Number:No.9(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").

Size:26mm Super Wide Field Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/10=5.7'.

20mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece:Field Of View:


5.7'+ 5.8'=11.5'.


Size in Arc Minutes:5.7'.


Major Axis:5.7'.


Minor Axis:1.9'.

Nebula is 5.7'* 1.9'.

Brightness:Magnitude 6.9.

Brightness Profile:The far outskirts of this nebula is fairly faint while the central outskirts grows brighter.

Challenge Rating:Very Easy.



Both at 57* and 75*,this nebula looks like a circular cloud of gas and dust illuminated by a bright star in the centre.However on the outskirts of this nebula some dark patches are seen.

Tom Bryant

2010 11 13 3:26:25

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[5h 35m 36s, -5� 16' 0"] M 43. Bright nebulosity surrounding nu Ori. About 5' across.

Pierre de Villiers

2016 February 04, Thursday

Location: Bonnievale SSP (Night Sky Caravan Park)

Telescope: Skywatcher 200-mm f/5, Delos 8-mm (0.57-deg fov)

Binoculars: Canon 12x36 IS (5-deg fov)

Sky conditions: Good (8/10)

Quality of observation: Good

M 43 an adjacent bright nebula separated from M 42 by a dark lane. Dominant bright star in the nebula. m = 4; size 5-arcmin (core) [11-arcmin catalogue]

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