B33: The Horsehead Nebula

Click on image for larger version.

Chess, anyone?

This is the most famous example of a dark nebula, that is, an opaque cloud of dust that obscures a bright nebula behind it. The Horsehead is about a lightyear across, and about 1200 lightyears away. It is backlit by IC 434, a red cloud of energized hydrogen which is illuminated by Alnitak (Zeta Orionis), one of the belt stars of Orion the Hunter.

This object images nicely, but is extremely difficult to see in an eyepiece. The top image is a wide field picture taken with a small telescope (Televue refractor). Please click on the top image to go to webpage for that image. The bottom, high resolution, image was taken using our RC telescope(s). Click on it to see a higher-resolution image.


16in and 20in Telescopes RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8
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 = 170 minutes binned 1x1
Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2
Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2
Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

  • Click on the top image to go to the webpage describing it.
  • The Luminance data is taken from 80 minutes of exposure from the 16in RC (Louis and Jennifer Goldring) and 90 minutes of exposure time from the 20in RC (Rex Wilcox and Raynett Hull).
  • Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/ AURA/NSF

    RETURN to the Diffuse Nebulae page.

    BACK to main Best of AOP page.

    Updated: 11/13/2003