|Horsehead and Flame Nebulae
This wide field image of the Horsehead Nebula includes a total of four nebula at a distance of 1,500 light years, all related to the large stellar nursery in Orion that includes the
Great Nebula M42. The largest nebula in this group is the deep red emission nebula IC 434, appearing as a waterfall of ionized hydrogen on the right. An intervening cloud of
interstellar dust creates the silhouette of a horse's head, giving rise to the name of the dark nebula B33. The Flame Nebula on the left, also known as NGC 2024, is another
region of glowing hydrogen gas in the shape of a burning bush. Between the Flame and the Horsehead is the smaller blue reflection nebula NGC 2023, caused by a cloud of fine
dust reflecting the light of a central star.
The brilliant blue star in the upper left of this image is called Alnitak, but is better known as the left-side star in the belt of Orion the Hunter.
The image above was obtained from my dark sky observatory with 75 minutes of H-alpha, 70 minutes of red, 40 minutes of green, and 25 minutes of blue exposures using an
ST10XME camera through an AP 130 GT refractor at f/4.5. The image below, obtained from my light polluted backyard 6 years earlier, combined 68 minutes luminance
exposure using an IDAS light pollution filter with 24 minutes of H-alpha, 18 minutes of green and red, and 30 minutes of blue exposures. I used an ST10XME camera through a
4" AP Traveler refractor at f/6.
Music: Fire and Rain, James Taylor