Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hydrogen Horse Head

Orion is one of well known gems of the winter sky (in northern hemisphere). Great Orion Nebula is probably the most popular object there, but also the Horsehead Nebula is also very identifiable because of its shape when observed from Earth. The Horsehead nebula (IC434) is about 1500 light years away and it is dark cloud of dust that obscures hydrogen gas behind it. This is only a small part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex that spans several hundreds light years across. The Horsehead is actually also a stellar nursery where stars are formed. These regions can contain over 100 different organic and inorganic gases and compounds.

The Flame Nebula (NGC2024) is also a part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. It contains both molecular hydrogen and dust and is illuminated by nearby bright star Alnitak (to the right of nebula). 
The picture above has been exposed over several nights with fog, full Moon, and other distracting occurrences, so I was able to collect only 3 hours in total in hydrogen alpha channel. It is not too much but I am afraid this winter I will not be able to collect more, that's why I present it as it is.

Clear skies!

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