The time is ripe for a thread on the Seagull Nebula, aka IC 2177, aka Gum 1/2/3, aka Sh 292/296/297.
Out last night with my newest acquisition, a Docter 8x56B Porro fitted with two Astronomik H-Beta filters on the eyepieces (see the thread on this in the Binoculars board: https://www.cloudyni...noculars/page-2), and following a pleasing sight of the California Nebula, I thought I'd give the Seagull another try following numerous failed attempts with other instruments. At my location, in a semi-rural setting in central Germany at 50°N, 130m above sea level, with NELM around 5m5 and the nebula never very high in the sky, the Seagull is a challenge. Yet now, with the right instrument, it suddenly popped out.
It presented as highly amorphous with boundaries almost impossible to define precisely. No question of the fine soaring bird that photos and some maps suggest. The image that came to mind was rather of a mottled potato, a little over 2° in extent from North to South and perhaps 1.5° from East to West. I saw two condensations in the nebulosity, each about 1/4° large. One was 1/4° northwest of the brightest star in the field, FN CMa (5m4). The other was about 1/2° north of that star.
In order not to skew my perceptions, I hadn't looked at maps or photos before viewing. I only had an idea of where the nebula should be, from a number of failed attempts in previous years, and pointed the binoculars there. Looking at photos afterwards, I'd say that the two condensations in the nebulosity are roughly where the bird's shoulders are.
I find it interesting that the two parts of the Seagull reported in the literature to be the brightest - Gum 2, the bird's head, and Gum 3, dripping off the bird's southern wing - were not evident. I think this is because both have brightish stars at their centre, which, combined with the small image scale at 8x, make it harder to perceive nebulosity.
The Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas gives the Seagull an 8-inch-aperture visibility rating. We've followed that up to now in our BAfK observer's guide (see my signature). I shan't deny that may be correct to see the seagull structure, but following my sighting of 2°-large nebulosity, with stable condensations therein, using handheld bins under a mediocre 50°N sky I think we'll have to correct it to a binocular visibility rating.
I would be delighted to learn about the sightings of the Seagull by others. Please do chime in. I'm not a great sketcher myself, hence the lack of an image. I would be all the more pleased if others could show their drawings here.