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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2004

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M78, Dave Einfeld

M78

M78 is a bright diffuse reflection nebula found in the Orion complex. It was discovered in 1780 by Charles Messier. Reflection nebulae are clouds of interstellar dust that shine in the scattered and reflected light of nearby high energy blue stars. M78 spans a distance of approximately 4 light years across.

The gas and dust appear blue because the light from the stars the molecules are reflecting is blue because of the intense heat and energy being emitted by them. Barely visible in the bottom right of the image is NGC 2067, an emission nebula that also is part of the Orion complex. Also, to the right of the nebula, a red giant star is visible. Red giants are cooler, dimmer stars near the end of their life.

References:
http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m078.html, http://www.seds.org/~spider/ngc/ngc.cgi?2067

Right Ascension (J2000) 0:46:7
Declination (J2000) +00:03:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date/Time

November 26, 2004, 08:37:47 UT (C)
November 26, 2004, '08:38:47 UT (BVR)