Horsehead & Flame Nebulae

I have imaged this region before, but, no amateur astrophotographer let’s a winter go by without taking another shot at this very colorful & beautiful region of the sky. My last image was shot at about 30 times magnification. This one is at about 18 times (with a different scope). The Horsehead Nebula, the crowing glory of all nebulae, is actually a dark nebula i.e. a column of heavier gases (i.e. Oxygen, Nitrogen etc) silhoutted against a wall of ionized Hydrogen (the pink wall). On the left is a bright star called Alnitak, which is the left-most star of the belt of the Orion Constellation and can be seen from most light-polluted skies without any optics (and that’s why it is rather bulgy in this image). Right below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula (better visualized, if you turn the image 90 degrees clockwise). It is also lot of Hydrogen gas mixed with some other gases. The pink wall behind Horsehead is about 25 light years wide. Horsehead itself about 2 ly wide. These objects are about 1500 lys away. The wall behind horsehead is ignited by the star on the top of the image, and the Flame Nebula is ignited by Alnitak. Total exposure time 4 hours.

Horsehead & Flame Nebulae

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