The Horsehead Nebula
The Horsehead Nebula is but a
part of the optical nebula IC
434, sometimes known as the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, (try saying
times quickly) some know it as Barnard 33.
nebula was first recorded on a photographic plate in 1888 at Harvard
Observatory by Williamina Fleming.
profile makes it one of the most familiar of astronomical objects. It is a dark nebula with
an extremely dense
cloud in front of ionized hydrogen gas. This
is ionized courtesy of Alnitak (the
bright star to the left). The nebula is approx 1500 light years from
Here the nebula is turned and somewhat more familiar.