IC434 - Horse Head Nebula  

Faint HII region under Orion's belt: Horse Head Nebula (IC434) and Flame Nebula (NGC2024)
The Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33 in bright nebula IC 434) is a dark nebula in the Orion constellation. The nebula is located just below Alnitak, the star furthest left on Orion's Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. It 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 is similar to that of a horse's head. The shape was first noticed in 1888 by Williamina Fleming on photographic plate B2312 taken at the Harvard College Observatory.

The red glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused mostly by thick dust, although the lower part of the Horsehead's neck casts a shadow to the left. Streams of gas leaving the nebula are funneled by a strong magnetic field. Bright spots in the Horsehead Nebula's base are young stars just in the process of forming.

The Flame Nebula, designated as NGC 2024, is located at its left on this picture. It is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away.

The bright star Alnitak(ζOri), the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula.
Technical details:  
Valdemorillo - Spain
30/11/2007 (dd/mm/yyyy)
Long Perng ED80 f/6.9
f/6.3 Meade
Baader Ha 7nm 2"
Vixen GPD2 Autostar Meade
Canon 350D no filter
5 tomas de 1200s., ISO800
Guiding tube:  
B&C 60/350 f7
Guiding camera:  
Meade DSI Pro
Guiding software:  
Calibrado con 20 darks. Apilado. Histogramas, curvas y NR.  
Primera luz de la nueva Canon 350D sin filtro. Pienso que la toma necesita más de 5x1200s.

Actualización 16/Feb 2008: Segundo procesado de esta toma que presentaba defectos fácilmente corregibles.
Actualización 10/abril 2008: Rotación de la imagen para mostrarla en la posición habitual.


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