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Ralph Buckley
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The Horsehead Nebula

In this image taken by +Dylan O'Donnell from his own Observatory in Byron Bay, Australia, using a Celestron 9.5″ telescope, QHY9 mono and QHY12 color CCD you can see the famous Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33). It is a dark nebula, located in the constellation of Orion (, about 1,500 light-years away from Earth.

The Horsehead nebula, aptly named because of its resemblance to a horse's head, is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex ( A massive stellar nursery ( and the source of the reddish glow behind the Horsehead Nebula. It is hydrogen, ionized ( by the nearby star Sigma Orionis ( The Horsehead Nebula is blocking the visible light from behind, thus becoming visible to us in this image.

The Horsehead Nebula was first discovered in 1887 by the Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming (

Read more about the image here in Dylan's post and on Wikipedia:

Take a look here for an image of the Horsehead Nebula in a plate from 1888:

To get a better understanding of the structure of the Horsehead Nebula you should also take a look at this spectacular infrared image of it, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and showing way more detail in the clouds of dust than possible in the visible part of the spectrum:

What is a dark nebula or absorption nebula?

An absorption nebula is a cloud of sub-micrometer-sized interstellar dust particles coated with frozen carbon monoxide and nitrogen dense enough to block out all or most of the visible light from objects behind it, making them look dark against the background. More here:

Image credit: Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) +Dylan O'Donnell

A little more on the image

The image was taken with a straight unfiltered QHY9 mono, and the RGB with a QHY12 Color CCD. Celestron 9.25″ Edge HD & Lepus 6.3 Focal Reducer. Color data was taken 12 month earlier using Hyperstar setup (540mm FL).

If you like this photograph then you can find more of Dylan's work here at:

Thank you for your interest in this Astronomy/Astrophysics collection. Maybe add me on Google+ (+Pierre Markuse) and Twitter ( or have a look at the Space/Space Technology collection here:

#science #astronomy #horseheadnebula #barnard33 #orion #darknebula #space #astrophotography #OrionMolecularCloudComplex #photography

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Check out this video on YouTube:

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The Moon is a Spaceship..

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Turn that frown upside down....Pretty Please...???

mucho thankee
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