IC 2220 - The Toby Jug Nebula

Jane Houston

After the first night of astro-tourism, most of us settled down and began to undertake our various projects. I had my project lists just like everyone else, but one object was added. I had never even heard of IC 2220, the Toby Jug Nebula before. But on the long flight from LAX to Sydney, I sat near astrophotographer Bill Williams from Florida and his 10 year old son Chad. Chad was looking at David Malin's AAT photographs of the southern sky.

Chad was wondering if I could help him see one of the objects in the book. It was called IC 2220 - the Toby Jug Nebula.

"Huh, never heard of it. Where is it?", I asked.

"I don't know," replied Chad.

Finally, armed with the coordinates: 07hr 56min 48sec - 59 07'. I searched the Southern Sky volume of Uranometria which I had packed. Nearby, just a few degrees south, was a nice cluster, NGC 2516, in Carina. Above this object, right there on page 424, at just about the right R.A. and Dec was an object with another number.

"That's gotta be it" Bill agreed.

"Ok, I'll find it tonight" I responded.

The Toby Jug Nebula surrounds a bright but cool star known only by its number HD 65750. It is the result of light reflected from particles that the star itself has ejected.

IC 2220 gets its name from its likeness to an English drinking vessel, the Toby Jug. It's a bipolar reflection nebula surrounding the bright cool star.

This seemed like a pretty interesting project. The research was fun. That second night at Ayers Rock I hunted for the Toby Jug Nebula. NGC 2516 was a beautiful naked eye open cluster nearby. Colorful stars abounded within the cluster. 15 degrees south of Canopus, this cluster alone was worth savoring for a while. Brilliant with several nice doubles, and pretty scatterings of stars, it looked a bit like the Jewel Box open cluster, near B Crucis more commonly known as Mimosa. The red supergiant in the center of the cluster was beautiful.

I found the star which is responsible for the Toby Jug Nebula. But no nebula was visible! I had to be careful as there were several really bright stars on the upper edge of the cluster. I added an OIII filter, pumped up the power to 202X using my 9 Nagler eyepiece, and a dainty barely visible haze surrounding the star appeared. I couldn't discern the beer mug shape of the Toby Jug naked eye, but could definately see the haze around the star. This is certainly a more impressive photographic object than a visible one. Everyone wanted to see it anyway, since nearly the entire group was in on the research. I showed the cluster first, so everyone got their money's worth.

Next morning I bumped into Chad while we were returning from a dawn wallaby-viewing walk

"Found it," I reported.

"You did? Cool!" replied Chad.

It wasn't 'til two nights later that Chad got to find the Toby Jug Nebula by himself thru Strider the 12.5 inch wonderscope. Chad will be giving a report to his classmates in Boca Raton, Florida soon. I'll bet he'll describe how he starhopped from NGC 2516 in Carina up to the Toby Jug Nebula. Sometimes what you find yourself through a telescope is just as cool as what you see in an astrophoto.
IC 2220, "The Toby Jug Nebula" from the Digitized Sky Survey, ©

Jane Houston; last updated: October 03, 2007 Prev Next