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The Horsehead/Flame Nebula Image Details
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How This Image Was Taken

The Horsehead Nebula

Takahashi FSQ106N Refractor @ f5

SBIG Colour Filter CFW-10

Image Acquisition
MaxIm DL V4.07

Date Taken
25 November 2005 - 15 January 2006
0% - 20% Moon phases, mag 4.5 sky
Low altitude at this site.

Exposure Details

Ha, SII and OIII = 8 exposures each @ 20 min 1x1 binned. Sub-exp ratios 1:1:1
CCD Temp @ -20

Image Processing
Raw Ha, SII and OIII narrowband filtered images, Dark, Bias, Flat and Flat Dark frames acquired, reduced & combined in MaxIm
All images Sigma clip combined, de-bloomed and stretched in FITS Liberator.

HaSII and OIII masters combined and finished in PhotoShop CS. The Hubble false colour scheme was used to bring out the finer details:- R=SII, G=Ha, B=OIII. Light layer mask blend in PhotoShop CS to smooth background. No other processing except removal of hot pixels not picked up at the combining stage.

The lower image uses the same master Ha, OIII and SII images but re-weighted in MaxIm's colour combine to strengthen the OIII contribution. In this mix Ha=R, SII=G and OIII=B.


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Also Known As
IC 434 (Horsehead), Barnard 33
NGC2024 (Flame Nebula) Lower left of imag


Position RA and Dec
RA: 05h 41m 19.1s
Dec: -02° 23' 40"

Highest Altitude at This Site
Approx 35°


Est 1500 light years.

Size & Magnitude
Horsehead: 2.7 x 1.8 light years.
Magnitude n/a - dark nebula

What it is
The Horsehead Nebula in Orion is part of a large, dark molecular cloud. The horse head shaped dark cloud is also known as Barnard 33. The red glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis (Alnitak) - the brightest star in the image. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused mostly by thick dust, although the lower part of the Horsehead's neck casts a shadow to the left .Streams of gas leaving the nebula are funneled by a strong magnetic field. Bright spots in the Horsehead Nebula's base are young stars just in the process of forming. Light takes about 1500 years to reach us from the Horsehead Nebula. The Flame Nebula to the lower left is part of the same Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the Horsehead Nebula.