IC434, the Horse Head region in Orion

 

(Click on image for full size version)

 

Description: North is to the left in this image.  The horse head in the center of the image is a dark globule known as Barnard 33 (B33) and is part of a dark nebula, which blocks the light from many of the stars behind it.  IC434 is the bright emission nebula which provides the light to outline B33.  Below and to the left of the horse head is the small reflection nebula,NGC2023, which lies in front of the dark nebula.  Finally, the bright emission nebula in the lower left of this image is NGC2024.  All of these nebulae are around 1,600 light years away.  The bright star immediately above it is Alnitak (zeta ORI), the easternmost star in the belt of Orion.  Click here for a color image of this area and here for a high resolution image of the horse head itself.
 
Exposure Data: 1/10/2004.  H alpha: 12x20m. -20C, 2.65 arc-sec./pixel.
 
Processing: Acquired via Sequencer II (dither 3) and CCDSoft, reduced and aligned, in Mira, Combined in Sigma, curves, levels and other processing in Photoshop.
 
Optical System: FSQ-106 @ F/5, ST-10XME NABG/CFW-8A CCD camera, Paramount ME.  Auto-guided.
 
Comments:

The ring around Alnitak is a reflection from the cover slip of the CCD chip.