RCW 88

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Coordinates: Sky map 15h 07m 08s, −57° 48.3′ 0″

RCW 88
Red Cocoon Harbours Young Stars.jpg
Star-forming region RCW 88 taken with the
EFOSC2 instrument on ESO’s New Technology Telescope.[1]
Observation data: J2000 epoch
Right ascension 15h 07m 08s[2]
Declination −57° 48.3′ 0″[2]
Distance 10.000 ly
Apparent magnitude (V) 12.0
Apparent dimensions (V) c. 5'-6'
Constellation Circinus
Physical characteristics
Radius c.16±3 ly
Designations PK 320+00.2, WRAY 16-166, WRAY 16-167, PN ARO 527,[2] ARO 146[3]
See also: Lists of nebulae

RCW 88 is an emission nebula in the southern constellation of Circinus that first appeared in the 1960 astronomical catalogue by Rodgers, Campbell & Whiteoak (RCW) of -emission regions within the southern Milky Way.[4] Earlier observers, like James Wray in 1966, misclassified this as a likely 12.0v magnitude planetary nebula,[5] but later spectroscopic investigations revealed this as a diffuse nebulae.[6] RCW 88 was then to be identified by the infrared satellite IRAS as an HII region.

Deep red images reveal that the inner nebula is divided into two parts by a central dark lane, and there is evidence of a larger halo of fainter nebulosity extending perhaps out to 10 arcmin. The RCW catalogue states the Hα image size is 3'×2.[4]

RCW 88 is located about 3300 parsecs (10,000 light years)[1] from us, though other estimates place this at a closer 1800±300 pc.[7] or 1800±200 pc.[8] Assuming the former distance and the diameter as 5'-6' across, finds by simple trigonometry the true size subtends a minimum of 5±1 parsecs (16±3 light-years.) This small emission nebula shows a mean radial velocity of −18 km.s−1,[7] and is also a faint radio source that was identified by Lloyd Higgs in 1971.[3] Due to the large distance from us, astronomers have made few studies into the nature of RCW 88.

Field Star[edit]

There is a 10.8v magnitude star identified as TYC 8702-56-1 positioned at RA : 15h 07m 25.1s Dec. : –57° 48' 32" (2000),[9] place 137 arc seconds southwest of the centre of the bright nebulosity.[10] It is unlikely that this star is associated with the nebulosity being probably a field star.


  1. ^ a b "Red Cocoon Harbours Young Stars". ESO Picture of the Week. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Search results for RCW 88". Astronomical Database. SIMBAD. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Higgs, L.A. (1971). "Catalog of radio observations of planetary nebulae, related optical data.". Publications of The Astrophysics Branch. 1: 1. Bibcode:1971PAB.....1....1H. 
  4. ^ a b Rodgers, A. W.; Campbell, C. T.; Whiteoak, J. B. (1960), "A catalogue of Hα-emission regions in the southern Milky Way", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 121 (1): 103–110, Bibcode:1960MNRAS.121..103R, doi:10.1093/mnras/121.1.103, retrieved 2007-01-30 
  5. ^ Wray, J.D. (25 February 2017). "A Study of Hα-emission Objects in the Southern Milky Way". Bibcode:1966PhDT.........3W. 
  6. ^ Acker, A.; Chopinet, M.; Pottasch, S.R.; Stenholm, B. (1987). "Misclassified planetary nebula". Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series. 71 (1): 163–175. Bibcode:1987A&AS...71..163A. 
  7. ^ a b Avedisova, V.S.; Palous, J. (1989). "Kinematics of star forming regions". Bulletin Astronomical Institutes of Czechoslovakia. 40 (1): 42–52. Bibcode:1989BAICz..40...42A. 
  8. ^ Avedisova, V.S.; Kondratenko, G.I. (1984). "Exciting stars and the distances of the diffuse nebulae". Nauchnye Informatsii. 56: 49. Bibcode:1984NInfo..56...59A. 
  9. ^ "Search results for TYC 870-56-1 88". Astronomical Database. SIMBAD. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Search results for TYC 870-56-1 88". Astronomical Database. SIMBAD. Retrieved 25 February 2017.