NGC 1333 -- Reflection Nebula in Perseus
A Small Reflective Surprise
The Reflection nebula NGC 1333 came as a pleasing shock when I first viewed it several
years ago under a dark sky with a large Dobsonian telescope. I was not sure that I would be
able to locate it with the 110mm refractor from a magnitude 5.0 sky at the local park near the
house. The literature surrounding this reflection nebula is confusing – called large and faint to
small and bright. Surprisingly, the refractor had little trouble locating NGC 1333 which I would
call small and moderately bright. I compared it to the Reflection Nebula around Merope
(Pleiades) and found NGC 1333 far easier to see in the small refractor.
The larger nebular “blob” is centered around a magnitude 10.5 star, with a curved southern tail
that ends in another smaller dimmer “blob”. It could easily be mistaken for a comet. NGC
1333 does not have a Messier number, Caldwell number, or is it listed in the Herschel 400.
Even so, I found it an intriguing and, as a deep-sky object, underrated.