IC 434 – Horsehead Nebula & Flame Nebula
Pictures taken on Tuesday 20th December 2016 from “Piani dell’Avaro” in Cusio (BG)
The Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33) is a dark nebula against the bright emission nebula IC 434, in the constellation Orion. The nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is farthest east on Orion’s Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The nebula was first recorded in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming on photographic plate B2312 taken at the Harvard College Observatory. The Horsehead Nebula 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 bears some resemblance to a horse’s head when viewed from Earth.
The Flame Nebula, designated as NGC 2024 and Sh2-277, is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away.
The bright star Alnitak (ζ Ori), 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.
Takahashi FSQ 106 EDXIII F/5
CCD Moravian G2 8300
Guide scope Tecnosky 60/228mm
Guide camera Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2
Mount Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6
H-Alpha 12 x 900s
RGB 6 x 600s
Pixinsight 1.8, Photoshop CC (2015)