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Red Rectangle


HD 44179; AFGL 915, IRAS 06176-1036


Reflection nebulae; extended red emission; molecular synthesis – photoluminescence; unidentified infrared emission bands


The Red Rectangle (astronomical coordinates J2000 RA=06 19 58.2, DEC=-10 38 14.7) in the constellation Monoceros is the common name given to the infrared source CRL 915 (=AFGL 915).  The central star of the nebula is HD 44179 = BD–10°1476.


The Red Rectangle was discovered as the result of ground-based identification of infrared sources observed in the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory (AFCRL) rocket sky survey.  The infrared object AFCRL 915 coincides in position with a nebulous object on the National Geographic Society-Palomar Sky Survey red print.  Because of the peculiar shape of the nebula, the object was given the name “The Red Rectangle” by Martin Cohen and Mike Merrill.   In November 1973, Cohen and Merrill took a picture of the object with the 4-m