Unistellar Citizen Astronomers are invited to participate in this week’s quest to observe the Cosmic Bat Nebula!

This ethereal nebula is hidden within a part of the Orion constellation that is often overlooked.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a bonus challenge this week! 

Quick Facts:

  • Also known as NGC 1788, the Cosmic Bat Nebula is a reflection nebula
  • Reflection nebulae are clouds of dust and gas that scatter light from a nearby star or stars
  • At this nebula’s core lies a cluster of infant stars which are only about a million years old
  • Most of the stars in this nebula are obscured by the surrounding dust and gas
  • The Cosmic Bat Nebula was most likely shaped by the strong stellar winds of massive stars


  • Located about 1,300 light years away
  • It can be found in one of the darkest corners of the Orion constellation
  • The prominent Orion constellation is named after the hunter Orion from Greek mythology
  • Since ancient times, many cultures across the Earth have recognized the constellation Orion in one way or another. Orion encompasses 3 Messier objects, 7 stars with known planets, many famous nebulae, and 2 of the brightest stars in our night sky.


Take a journey to the Cosmic Bat Nebula with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), starting outside the Orion constellation!


Tips for Observing:

  • Search for “Cosmic Bat Nebula” in the Explore tab of the Unistellar app.
  • Depending on the level of light pollution at your location, you may want to leave the Enhanced Vision mode on for at least 10 minutes, possibly up to an hour, in order to get a good image of this nebula.
  • Recommended Bortle Class is 5 or lower to see this nebula well.


eVscope image captured by Unistellar Citizen Astronomers Nicole Ruel and Jacques Bérard, from Québec.

Please send us your images of the Cosmic Bat Nebula and let us know if we can share them! We also encourage you to share your images and join the conversation through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using the hashtag #UnistellarChallenge.


Bonus Challenge of the Week: Participate in this week’s #UnistellarChallenge and Globe at Night’s Orion Observation!

If you aren’t familiar, Globe at Night is an international citizen science campaign to raise awareness of light pollution’s impact.

Their observation challenge this week also covers the Orion nebula, so it’s a great activity to do while observing the Cosmic Bat Nebula with your eVscope. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids or grandkids to astronomy!

Compare your night sky to Globe at Night’s Magnitude Charts. These charts represent the limiting magnitude scale — the apparent magnitude of the faintest object that is visible with the naked eye or a telescope.

By contributing your observations, you and your fellow observers are real scientists! Your data is utilized by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) NOIRLab. This is citizen science at work!

Share your Magnitude Chart along with your Cosmic Bat Nebula image, so we can compare!


Clear skies! 🔭

Further readings