Horsehead Nebula, Orion

2016-02-05 / Image Details (Click on image to enlarge)

"The Horsehead nebula is one of the most difficult of visual objects and requires dark skies and large exposure times to view. We had superb seeing conditions that night and a relatively dark sky despite the nearby city of Zurich."

The constellation of Orion is one of the most spectacular regions in the autumn and winter sky and comprises famous deep sky objects.

Technical Details

LocationZollikerberg, Switzerland
CameraNikon DSLR D810A
TelescopeSkywatcher Quattro 8CF 200 DS Fibre OTA Newton Carbon
OpticsSkywatcher Newtonian F4 Coma Corrector
Focal Length800mm
MountSkywatcher AZ-EQ6, EQASCOM, Stellarium
AutoguidingLacerta MGEN2 (Autoguiding, Dithering und Camera Control)
Camera ControlDigicamcontrol (Focus, Camera Control)
Lights35 x 180s (1h45'), ISO-800, additional Biases, Flats, no Darks
Stacking SoftwarePixinsight 1.8
Image ProcessingPixinsight 1.8

The Horsehead Nebula is one of the most recognizable of deep sky objects by virtue of its distinct resemblance to its namesake. It is certainly the best known example of a dark nebula. The nebula is silhouetted against the very faint glow of IC 434, a reef of tenuous emission nebulosity.

Another interesting object in the image is the reflection nebula, NGC 2023, in the lower left corner. The bluish color of the NGC 2023 is caused by light of the star in the center that is reflected off surrounding dust.

Another famous deep sky object is located near the bright star Alnitak. This emission nebula is called The Flame Nebula or NGC 2024.