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Barnard 33 - The Horsehead Nebula

The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula in the constellation Orion. It's also known as Barnard 33 in emission nebula IC 434. The nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is farthest east on Orion's Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The nebula was first recorded in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming on photographic plate B2312 taken at the Harvard College Observatory.[1] Edward Emerson Barnard recognized the object in the 1910s. The first published description of the Horsehead Nebula was given in Barnard (1913), and it was first cataloged by Barnard (1919).[2]

The Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth. It is one of the most identifiable nebulae because of the shape of its swirling cloud of dark dust and gases, which bears some resemblance to a horse's head when viewed from Earth.[1] The remarkable Horsehead is a dark globule of dust and non-luminous gas, obscuring the light coming from behind, especially the moderately bright nebula IC 434. The bright reflection nebula in the lower left is NGC 2023.[2] There is another nebula in the lower left know as Flame Nebula, also designed as NGC 2024. It's a emisson nebula about 900 at 1500 light-years away. This nebula shines because high energy of star Alnitak, a star in the Belt of Orion. [1]

The red or pinkish glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. The visible dark nebula emerging from the gaseous complex is an active site of the formation of "low-mass" stars. Bright spots in the Horsehead Nebula's base are young stars just in the process of forming.[1]

[1] wikipedia


This picture was taken on August 24, 2014 - Brotas - São Paulo - Brazil.

Technical data

ISO 800, total exposure of 01h45m (21 subs), darks, flats and biases applied.


- Equatorial Mount Orion Atlas EQ-G

- Refractor Triplet Meade 80mm APO F6

- Canon DSLR 500D modded with Astrodon Filter

- Astronomik CLS EOS Clip Filter

- Auto guided with Orion Starshoot and Refractor Orion 80mm

- Astro-Tech Field Flattener 2"


Capture: BackyardEOS

Processing: PixInsight 1.8 and Adobe Photoshop CS5

Ps: Stars's spikes were created by crossed wire in front of refractor!

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