NGC 2244 and NGC 2237-9,46

Starforming Nebula NGC 2237-9,46, The Rosette Nebula
Open Cluster NGC 2244 (= H VII.2), type 'c', in Monoceros

[NGC 2244, UKS]

Rosetta Nebula
NGC 2237-9,46
NGC 2244
Right Ascension 06 : 32.3 (h:m) 06 : 32.4 (h:m)
Declination +5 : 03 (deg:m) +4 : 52 (deg:m)
Distance 5.5 (kly) 5.5 (kly)
Visual Brightness ? (mag) 4.8 (mag)
Apparent Dimension 80x60 (arc min) 24 (arc min)

Discovered by John Flamsteed about 1690.

The Rosetta Nebula is a vast cloud of dust and gas, extending over an area of more than 1 degree across, or about 5 times the area covered by the full moon. Its parts have been assigned different NGC numbers: 2237, 2238, 2239, and 2246. Within the nebula, open star cluster NGC 2244 is situated, consisted of the young stars which recently formed from the nebula's material, and the brightest of which make the nebula shine by exciting its atoms to emit radiation. Star formation is still in progress in this vast cloud of interstellar matter; a recent finding of a very young star with a Herbig-Haro type jet by astronomers at the NOAO has been announced in Press Release NOAO 04-03 on January 22, 2004.

Although various values for its distance occur in the literature, our adopted distance from the Sky Catalog 2000 implies a true diameter of the nebula of about 130 light years. Burnham quotes a mass estimation of 10,000 (Minkowski 1949) to 11,000 (Menon 1962) solar masses, so it is one of the more massive diffuse nebulae.

Open cluster NGC 2244 was discovered by Flamsteed about 1690. The nebula, however, was not even seen by William Herschel (who found the cluster); its different parts were discovered only by John Herschel (NGC 2239 = GC 1420 = h 392), Marth (NGC 2238 = GC 5361 = Marth 99), and Swift (NGCs 2237 and 2246); note that while now these numbers are used for describing parts of the diffuse nebula, their original NGC description is quite different:

2237  pretty bright, very very large, diffuse (?= [GC] 5361 [= NGC 2238])
2238  small [faint] star in nebulosity
2239  star of mag 8 in large, poor, bright cluster
2246  extremely faint, large, irregularly round, extremely difficult
Nevertheless, the nebula is a splendid object, especially for astrophotography.

Our image was obtained by David Malin with the UK Schmidt Telescope. This image is copyrighted and may be used for private purpose only. For any other kind of use, including internet mirroring and storing on CD-ROM, please contact the Photo Permissions Department (photo at of the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

  • More information on this image (by David Malin)

    In the SAC 110 best NGC object list. In the RASC's Finest N.G.C. Objects Objects list. Caldwell 49 (Rosette Nebula) and Caldwell 50 in Patrick Moore's list.

    Bill Arnett's Rosette Nebula and NGC 2244 photo page, info page.

  • Jean-Claude Mermilliod's WEBDA cluster page for open cluster NGC 2244
  • SIMBAD Data of NGC 2244; NGC 2237, NGC 2238, NGC 2239, NGC 2246.
  • Publications on NGC 2244 (NASA ADS)
  • Observing Reports for NGC 2244 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)
  • NGC Online data for NGC 2244, NGC 2237, NGC 2238, NGC 2239, NGC 2246

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: June 27, 1998