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OT - I went horse hunting last night


Phil O'Keefe
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And bagged this...

 

 

fetch?filedataid=127976

 

 

Barnard 33 - more commonly known as the Horsehead Nebula. It's the dark cloud of dust and gas sitting in front of and silhouetted by IC 434, the red Hα emission nebula directly behind it. NGC 2023 is the yellowish reflection nebula on the left. All of these objects are in the constellation Orion - the Horsehead is just a bit south of Alnitak - the easternmost belt star of Orion.

 

I was having some issues with dark frame subtraction with my near real time EAA (Electronically Assisted Astronomy) software so it's got a bit more noise in the image than I'd like, but I was still pretty happy to capture it this well - it's considered one of the more difficult objects for amateur astronomers to observe. Many people spend years looking for it and never manage to find it.

 

 

Here's a couple more from the same constellation.

 

 

fetch?filedataid=127979

 

The Flame Nebula - NGC 2024. This is quite close to the Horsehead Nebula, and actually shows up in wider angle shots of it. The bright star just off-screen to the left is Alnitak. The X lines that you see on brighter stars are diffraction spikes, caused by the light diffracting as it crosses the thin supports of a Newtonian telescope's secondary mirror.

 

 

 

fetch?filedataid=127977

 

 

Messier 42 and Messier 43. M42 is also known as the Orion Nebula. M43 is the round nebula near the bottom with the star in the center. Orion (the constellation) is the location of some of the closest "solar nurseries" - huge clouds of gas and dust, out of which stars and solar systems coalesce. All of these objects are about 1,500 light years away.

 

 

Originally I really didn't have plans on trying to bag the Horsehead Nebula - I was out trying to finish my Messier list - I've been taking photos of all 110 Messier objects... and I'm almost done - I just need M26 to finish. Since I got everything else I was after fairly quickly, I decided to give it a try.

 

 

 

 

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Cool! Horsehead is my screensaver. More specifically this shot:

​Your images are very good. I keep thinking I'll invest in a nice telescope sometime but the Pacific NW is not the best place for viewing the sky. Too many clouds.

Edited by Yakburger
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Very, very nice work, Phil. Thank you for sharing.

 

My father-in-law loves astronomy - he teaches a university course and has made a few 'scopes. I've always enjoyed seeing photos of these more interesting iterstellar structures.

 

Of couse, what is really cool is the idea that it only looks like a horse's head from our vantage point. What would it look like from any other direction?:idk:

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Cool stuff there!

The county I live in, Harris County. Has possibly the biggest Horse population of any in America. Over 4.5 million horses!! Yep! We have six stables within five miles of our house. We go for a drive at nights and stop and talk and pet the ones that come to the fence.

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Cool! Horsehead is my screensaver. More specifically this shot:

​Your images are very good. I keep thinking I'll invest in a nice telescope sometime but the Pacific NW is not the best place for viewing the sky. Too many clouds.

 

Now THAT'S a great shot! :philthumb:

 

You can see not just the Horsehead, but also Alnitak with the Flame Nebula right below it, all of IC 434, NGC 2023, and a second "belt star" - Alnilam.

 

Here's a great shot from Wiki showing the larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex... it's amazing how much "stuff" there is to see in that one constellation alone - some of it is so large (such as Barnard's Loop, the large red C shaped Hα emission nebula that circles the left / east side of the constellation) that you really need a wide angle instrument to capture it, or you have to do a collage of multiple images...

 

 

Orion_Head_to_Toe.jpg

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