Sunday, January 2, 2011

Horsehead and Flame Nebulae

I'm still trying to learn the capabilities of my little imaging setup. The ST80 is an amazing little telescope, especially considering that it's only an achromat. One of the things that I really like about it is that it has a wide field of view, which means that it is possible to see or image fairly large areas of the sky.

Here is an image of several nebulae around the star Alnitak (Zeta Orionis). Alnitak is the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion. Three prominent nebulae in this image are the Flame Nebula, the Horsehead Nebula, and IC 434. Several smaller reflection nebulae dot the area.

Horsehead and Flame Nebulae, ST80 on Vixen SP, 12x180
The star Sigma Orionis is located at the top of the image on the right. This star is visible to the naked eye in most locations. It is located south of Alnitak.

The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula, which is an opaque cloud of dust and gas. Located behind it is emission nebula IC 434. The Flame Nebula is being lit up by Alnitak and stars buried within the nebula.

Here is an image of this same area that I made using Sam Houston State University's Takahashi Epsilon-200:


  1. Brilliant, mate. Very nicely done! I am itching for the clouds to go away so that I can image this. Excellent work!

  2. Thanks, Phil! Yeah, the weather lately has been very disappointing. It doesn't look like January is going to shape up to be a good astronomy month.