|Observation data: J2000.0 epoch|
|Right ascension||11h 36m 36.0s|
|Declination||−63° 02′ 00″|
|Distance||2.0 kpc ly|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||4.5|
|Apparent dimensions (V)||75'|
|Notable features||open cluster with nebulosity, Bok globules|
Running Chicken Nebula,
Lambda Cen Nebula, Caldwell 100.
IC 2944, also known as the Running Chicken Nebula or the λ Centauri Nebula, is an open cluster with an associated emission nebula found in the constellation Centaurus, near the star λ Centauri. It features Bok globules, which are frequently a site of active star formation. However, no evidence for star formation has been found in any of the globules in IC 2944.
The ESO Very Large Telescope image on the right is a close up of a set of Bok globules discovered in IC 2944 by South African astronomer A. David Thackeray in 1950. These globules are now known as Thackeray's Globules. In 2MASS images, 6 stars are visible within the largest globule.
The region of nebulosity visible in modern images includes both IC 2944 and IC 2948, as well as the fainter IC 2872 nearby. IC 2948 is the brightest emission and reflection nebulae towards the southeast, while IC 2944 is the cluster of stars and surrounding nebulosity stretching towards λ Centauri.
- Thackeray, A. D.; Wesselink, A. J. (1965). "A photometric and spectroscopic study of the cluster IC 2944". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 131: 121. Bibcode:1965MNRAS.131..121T. doi:10.1093/mnras/131.1.121.
- Reipurth, Bo; Corporon, Patrice; Olberg, Michael; Tenorio-Tagle, Guillermo (1997). "Thackeray's globules in IC 2944". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 327: 1185. Bibcode:1997A&A...327.1185R.
- Thackeray, A. D. (1950). "Some southern stars involved in nebulosity". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 110 (6): 524. Bibcode:1950MNRAS.110..524T. doi:10.1093/mnras/110.6.524.
- Stephen James O'Meara (2002). Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell Objects. Cambridge University Press. pp. 400–. ISBN 978-0-521-82796-6.