Photo of the Week for January 23, 2015
A notoriously difficult visual challenge, the Horsehead Nebula in Orion is also a cherished prize for astrophotographers, including Daniel Posey, who created this finely detailed image. Also catalogued as Barnard 33 (B33), this notch of dark nebulosity intrudes into the glow of IC434 and keeps company with several deep-sky objects, including compact reflection nebula NGC2023 (below and to the left of the Horsehead) and NGC2024 (also known as the Christmas Tree Nebula), which lies next to Alnitak, the easternmost star in Orion’s belt. Of these, only NGC2024 is a fairly easy catch for backyard telescopes under dark skies.
To produce this portrait of the Horsehead, Posey accumulated more than 10 hours of exposure data over several nights at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Victoria Centre observatory, located in Saanich, just north of Victoria, British Columbia. The final imaging session occurred on January 20, 2015. Posey used a QSI 583c CCD camera attached to a Tele Vue NP127is, 127mm aperture, f/5.2 apochromatic refractor telescope for the photo.