Photo of the Week for March 18, 2016
One of the most iconic winter deep-sky objects is the Horsehead Nebula, also known as Barnard 33 (B33). Paradoxically, despite its fame, the Horsehead is very difficult to see. It’s situated just south of the easternmost star in Orion’s belt, named Alnitak (the brightest star in the image above), and is silhouetted against a strand of bright nebulosity catalogued as IC434. Also near Alnitak is NGC2024, which is sometimes called the Christmas Tree Nebula — another silhouette. Of the nebulas shown here, NGC2024 is the easiest to see in a telescope.
This fine view of the Horsehead and surrounding region was captured by Moncton, New Brunswick, astrophotographer Francois Theriault on February 22, 2016. Francois used a SBIG ST-8300M monochrome CCD camera and narrow-band filter set attached to a AstroTech AT72ED 72-mm, f/6 refractor telescope to capture a total of 5.6 hours exposure data, which he combined for the final image.