B33: The Horsehead Nebula


I’ve been trying to get a decent closeup of the Horsehead Nebula for a number of years now, I think this is probably my best effort yet. This image was taken using a hydrogen alpha filter using 600 second exposures to gain maximum amount of detail.

The Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33) is a small dark nebula in the constellation Orion.

The nebula is located just to the south of Alnitak, the easternmost star of Orion’s Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion molecular cloud complex. It appears within the southern region of the dense dust cloud known as Lynds 1630, along the edge of the much larger, active star-forming H II region called IC 434.

The Horsehead Nebula is approximately 422 parsecs or 1,375 light-years from Earth. The Nebula is one of the most identifiable nebulae because of its resemblance to a horse’s head.

The image below was taken over a decade ago at a Spring Kielder Star Party. The image shows the relationship between Barnard 33 with Alnitak and the nearby Flame Nebula (NGC2024).