About half way between the eta carina nebula and the Southern Cross lies a faint nebula IC 2944. Hans Vernberg in his "Atlas of Deep Sky Splendors" calls this object, the "Running Chicken Nebula", as does "The Sky". However "The Sky" uses the designation to refer only to the portion of the nebula actually around lambda centauri. The larger patch to the left, is designated by "TheSky" as IC 2948. MegaStar however, gives IC 2944 as an open cluster, and indicates that it is surrounded by a reflection nebula, listed as IC 2948.
The nebula is visible without too much difficulty with a 10" telescope under dark skies. The biggest problem with observing it is the light from the 3rd magnitude star lambda centauri, which is imbedded within the nebula.
The entire region is a wonderful area for the telescope. In the photograph above, IC 2944/48 is the large nebulosity just left of centre. To the right are 2 small nebulae. The top one is RCW 60, also known as Gum 39, while the one below it is IC 2872. The small round emission nebula just below IC 2948 is RCW 61, also known as Gum 41. The very small group of stars within IC 2944/48 is the open cluster VdB-Ha 121. Above the nebula is the very rich open cluster NGC 3766 while to the lower right, is the circular open cluster IC 2714. At the right hand edge is the beautiful open cluster NGC 3532 and part of the eta carina Nebula. Most of the small nebulae between NGC 3532 and IC 2944 are listed here.