This is one of the most iconic subjects in the night sky. The dark Horse Head nebula at center framed against the red emission nebula is one of the best examples of the fact that space is full of obscuring dust. The flame nebula at left reinforces this as a very energetic star is illuminating a dust clouds from the inside. Spread throughout the vista are examples of different types of nebula: dark, emission, and reflection. I always find something new when I explore this scene.
Photons captured in Simpson, North Carolina, in November 2014.
The image is 2 stitched panels collected over a total of 8.4 hours exposure time
This two panel mosaic spans the Horse Head and Flame Nebulas found in the belt of Orion. This region of space 900 light years away is a active stellar nursery where dust and gas collapse to form new energetic stars that cause the hydrogen gas in the region to glow red. The bright star at the center is Alnitak, a blue supergiant
that is 28 times larger than our sun.
Horse Head & Flame Nebula