Well after a week or so of deliberation by the IAU, here's the official announcement: http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iauc/08200/08284.html A separate announcement was made on the cover of the "Star Formation Newsletter", which can be found here in ps format: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~reipurth/newsletter.htm
Oh boy, what a roller-coaster ride--anyhow, here's the gorey details. It all started with me processing a widefield image that I took several weeks ago using a 3-inch Takahashi FTC-76 and ST-10XME CCD from my suburban Paducah, KY backyard (NELMZ~4.5). When I noticed something "funky" looking on my image that didn't appear on other images using 12.5-inch R-C's nor the downloadable POSS, I sent this email to Brian S.
------------------------------ Hey Brian, Do you personally know of any researcher that may be interested in a catalogued Herbig-Haro type object currently undergoing a fairly dramatic increase in brightness? I just completed a fairly deep color composite image of the M 78 area. While comparing my image to several other recent images of the area, I noticed a fairly obvious object on my image that wasn't at all visible on the others despite the images being equally as deep and using the exact same color filters. When I pinpointed the exact location and ran it through an area search on SIMBAD, it shows the object to be HH 22. This wouldn't strike me as being "that" amazing except for the fact that this thing is all but invisible on all of the downloadable POSS 1& 2 images taken with a 48-inch Schmidt, whereas it is one of the more conspicuous features visible on my suburban backyard image done with a 3-INCH refractor! We're talking a gain of several magnitudes, possibly... It is easily visible on all of my images taken through narrowband R, G,&B filters as well as the unfiltered luminance frames. I still have all of my raw data and the spectral response of my camera is well known if anyone would be interested. Just thought I'd run this past ya' before looking into it further--let me know what you think? BTW, you can use the identifier HH22 to locate the object in my attached JPEG. Thanks, Jay McNeil -----------------------
Brian immediately urged me to contact Bo Reipurth at Mauna Kea (author of the Catalogue of Herbig-Haro Objects). I did so, and next thing you know, he and Mr. George Herbig are requesting "Target of Opportunity" time on the 8 meter Gemini! Within 24 hrs, they actually GET this time on Gemini! Preliminary data points to this being a very rare FU Orionis or EX Lupii type outburst of the deeply imbedded IRAS 5436-0007, which has also been noted as a the radio source LMZ 12. According to the latest research, LMZ 12 is thought to be an obscured dense dust core with a healthy accretion disc.As for visual observations, I believe that the object would be visible in 16-inch and larger instruments under the best of skies. The 1' total diameter and 15-16 magnitude will likely be misleading however (as most photographic estimates are). However, I would think that the brightest (southernmost) portion of the nebula, which is located immediately north of the responsible star, should be visible at higher powers (>200x). Even more interesting is the fact that most similar cometary-type reflection nebulae associated with pre-main sequence stars tend to fluctuate in apparent brightness and extent as the conditions surrounding their laminating stars alter. PV Cephei (Gyulbudaghian's Nebula) and R Monocerotis (Hubble's Variable Nebula) or just two examples... So it may prove quite interesting to check the area over the next several months for possible brightenings... BTW, below are the original discovery images:
Copyright © Michael Richmond. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.