Horsehead Nebula

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The Horsehead is a dark nebula officially known as Bernard 33 (B33). It is a cloud of dust backlit by the red emission nebula IC 434. The nearby illuminator of IC 434 is Alnitak (the eastern star of Orion's belt). Alnitak is very bright and makes imaging in this area quite difficult. The Horsehead is 1500 ly distant, and 1 ly across.

The image above was taken with the 12" LX200, AO7, and ST-8E camera at f/6.3 on Jan 6, 2003 from my home dome in Monmouth Oregon.  It is an RRGB image (as detailed below) since the reflection nebula is very red, and Alnitak is very blue. Calibration and alignment were done in MaxIm DL. RRGB layering was done with Photoshop.  With an average altitude of 41 degrees, I balanced this to an RGB ratio of 1.10 : 1.00 : 2.12.

Filter

Exposure Count Binning
Luminance reuse red    
Red 55 min 11 x 5 min 2x2
Green 15 min 3 x 5 min 2x2
Blue 30 min 6 x 5 min 2x2

Previous image taken Feb 19, 1999.

A composite of four one minute exposures taken with the 12" LX200 and 416XT CCD at f3.3 in Monmouth, OR.