One of the things you begin to realize after imaging various regions of the universe is that space is not empty! It’s filled with dust. In fact if there were no dust, we would not have a night time here on Earth. The second completed project from Orion’s Belt Remote Observatory is entitled “A Horse with No Name” which harkens back to the early 70’s and the song from the band ‘America’. The “Horsehead nebula” is one of the most fascinating regions of our galaxy and is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud which is a huge star forming region toward the constellation Orion. I have reproduced the detailed description below with a few edits, courtesy of Wikipedia. For a full resolution version of the image you can use the link on the lower right under “My Astro-images”
The “Horsehead nebula” is a complex star forming region 1200 light years from Earth toward the constellation Orion and consists of emission, reflection and dark nebulae. The deep-red color originates from ionized hydrogen gas (Hα) predominantly behind the nebula, and caused by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. You can see the blue diffraction spike from the nearby bright star. Magnetic fields channel the gases, leaving the nebula into streams, shown as foreground streaks against the background glow. A glowing strip of hydrogen gas marks the edge of the massive cloud, and the densities of nearby stars are noticeably different on either side.
Heavy concentrations of dust in the Horsehead Nebula region and neighboring Orion Nebula are localized into interstellar clouds, resulting in alternating sections of nearly complete opacity and transparency. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused mostly by thick dust blocking the light of stars behind it. The lower part of the Horsehead’s neck casts a shadow to the left. 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. (Courtesy Wikipedia)
Location: Orion’s Belt Remote Observatory, Mayhill NM
Date: Dec 2018
Telescope: RiDK 400mm
Camera: SBIG STX 16803/ AOX
Mount: Paramount MEII
Acquisition: LRGB Ha: 5, 5,6,5,7 hours respectively. Luminance 10min; Red, Green, Blue 12 min; Ha 15min
Filters: Astrodon Gen 2 (3nm HA)
Processing : Pixinsight
Thanks for reading!