The Horsehead and Flame Nebulae
DEC 31, 2010
The Horsehead Nebula is one of the showcase objects of the winter sky.
It is located in the constellation of Orion just below the eastern-most of the
three prominent stars in Orion's belt, which is the bright overexposed
star center-left in this picture (north is to the left). The bright
nebula just to the east, i.e. below, this bright star, aka Alnitak,
is called the Flame Nebula.
I have tried without success to view the Horsehead visually. The
glowing background gas which makes the horsehead silhouette is very
faint. In fact, the Horsehead wasn't even discovered until 1888 when
Williamina Fleming noticed it on a photographic plate taken at the
Harvard College Observatory.
So, it is with some pride that I was able to take the picture shown here
with just a 200mm telephoto lens outfitted with a narrow-band H-alpha