NGC 1999

Click on image for larger version.

If you were "knocking on Heaven's door.." then this might be the keyhole you could peer through. The bright star in the center of this nebula is V380 Orionis and the entire complex is just south of the much more famous Orion Nebula. V380 Orionis is a very young (variable) star. Its natal clouds of gas and dust still surround it. The blue color indicates much of the light in this region is being strongly scattered (like the blue daytime sky) instead of glowing red like much of the rest of the field. The dark keyhole-like structure is a very thick cloud of dust (and gas) that totally blocks the light of the illuminated region behind it. This kind of dark cloud is often called a "Bok Globule"- named after the late University of Arizona astronomer Bart Bok. Bok Globules are thought to harbor proto-stars that may burst forth into full-fledged suns soon.


20in RC Optical Systems telescope operating at f/8.4
Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

L R G B color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = 120 minutes binned 1x1
Red = 30 minutes binned 2x2
Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2
Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

  • A bright star outside of the field scattered a bit of light into this image- making a colorful halo. Pains were taken to minimize the effect so that the dim red background would be apparent.
  • Minimum credit line: Dan and Erica Simpson/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

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    Updated: 11/08/2004