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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2006

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Horsehead Nebula, Sarah Holtrop

Horsehead Nebula

The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula. Dark nebulae are clouds of dust which are simply blocking the light from whatever is behind. The horsehead itself is a dark and dense cloud that is in front of red gas, which gives pictures a reddish tone in the background. One of the stars in the Horsehead Nebula, Zeta Orionis, is actually part of the constellation Orion. Another name for this nebula is Barnard 33, named after a man that first recognized the object. It was first recorded in 1888 and is 1500 light years away.

This picture is interesting because it includes an apparent curtain of light with a sharp edge; something that is not actually there. The line that is pictured could have been caused by stray light. Because of the way this photograph was taken, the colors do not show up exactly as they should. The background should be red and the horsehead itself usually has a dark tone with red behind it. The stars in the forefront are just stars that are closer to the camera, not actually stars that are part of the nebula itself. The horsehead name obviously comes from the shape of the dark cloud, making it look similar to a horse's head. The approximate linear size (width) of this object is 2.65 ly.

References:
The Horsehead Nebula

Horsehead Nebula

Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula

Right Ascension (J2000) 5:41:00
Declination (J2000) -02:24:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 10 seconds in RVB and 300 seconds in clear
Date observed

March 13, 2006 (VR)
March 20, 2006 (C)
April 8, 2006 (B)