This is the iconic Horsehead Nebula. I’ve photographed it many times, but with a new focal reducer and camera on the telescope I thought it was worth a revisit. The Horsehead Nebula is close to the star at the left end of Orion’s Belt. The nebula forms the silhouette of a horse’s head against a faintly glowing background — a spray of hydrogen gas energized by radiation from another bright star.
The Horsehead itself is a cloud of much colder, denser gas and dust in front of the glowing background. Because it produces almost no visible light, it forms a dark silhouette. The nebula is about 1500 light years away and the Horsehead structure is about 5 light years tall. Below and to the left is a bright reflectioon nebula, NGC 2023.
This is 12 hours of exposure through RGB filters and an h-alpha filter to pick up more detail. Imaged the week of February 8 through the 16th, 2016.