Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33)

Photographer
Jon Greif
Email
greif.jon@gmail.com
Location of photo
Mayhill, NM USA remotely from La Jolla, CA USA
Date/Time of photo
January 14, 2008 at 10 pm MST
Equipment
150 mm Takahashi color imaging platform via iTelescope.net
Description
This dark nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is farthest east on Orion's Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The nebula was first recorded in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming on a photographic plate taken at the Harvard College Observatory (read about the women astronomers at Harvard at the turn of the last century: https://apps.carleton.edu/…/cindystud…/1997sp/women/harvard/). The Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth. It is one of the most identifiable nebulae because of the shape of its swirling cloud of dark dust and gases, which bears some resemblance to a horse's head. The dark cloud of dust and gas is a region where star formation is taking place. This stellar nursery can contain over 100 known kinds of organic and inorganic gases as well as dust. The red or pinkish glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. Magnetic fields channel the gases leaving the nebula in streams, shown as streaks in the background glow. The darkness of the Horsehead itself is caused by thick dust blocking the light of stars behind it.
Website
https://www.skyandtelescope.com/author/jgreif/
All comments must follow the Sky & Telescope Terms of Use and will be moderated prior to posting. Please be civil in your comments. Sky & Telescope reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter’s username, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

COMMENT

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.