Horsehead Nebula   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Dark nebula in Orion

The iconic Horsehead Nebula is probably the best-known dark nebula in the night sky. Almost everyone has seen its picture. Curiously, the Horsehead is an extremely hard to see through a telescope, and many dedicated amateur astronomers have never seen it. Even with my 18-inch Dobsonian telescope, I have only managed to glimpse its dark shape using a specialized filter that selectively lets through the light of the dim background nebula.

The bright and overexposed nebula at the top of this image is NGC 2023.

Apparent Size 8' x 6'
Distance (light yrs) 1,500
Right Ascension 5:41.0
Declination -2 27
Field of View 35' x 27'

Image details:  Exposure times of 12 minutes luminance and 9 minutes each of red, green and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 12" Meade telescope at f/5.6.

February 2012