Horsehead Nebula in Orion, California

Horsehead Nebula in Orion
Panamint Valley, California   –   December 4, 2021
— Ralph Paonessa
Takahashi FSQ-106EDX III refractor + 0.73X   *   f/3.7

The iconic Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) is an opaque cloud of dust sihouetted agains the red glow of Hydrogen-alpha emission from bright nebula IC 434. In this widefield image, the Horsehead seems to float on a glowing pillow of dust and nebulosity.

To the left is the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024, Sh2-277), partly obscured by tendrils of dust. The bright blue star above it is Alnitak, the left (eastern) star in Orion's Belt. (The central star Alnilam is just outside the frame to the upper left.) Intense ultraviolet radiation from Alnitak causes the hydrogen in the Flame to glow with H-alpha light.

This area is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a large area of active star formation and one of the nearest star nurseries to Earth.

LRGB composite: 5.1 hr total exposure

L: 8 x 10 min = 1.3 hr

R: 8 x 10 min = 1.3 hr

G: 8 x 10 min = 1.3 hr

B: 7 x 10 min = 1.2 hr

SQM reading 21.5 in dark desert skies. Stacked and processed in PixInsight; adjusted in Adobe Lightroom.

Photo ID: Horsehead LRGB v1