The Zeta Orionis Region First Night with New Orion 8" f/4 Astrograph

Uploaded 2/20/10

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 There is always a compromise between field of view and resolution in any astronomical image. With the 12.5" I can get the Horse head and not much more but at a seeing limited resolution. With the Schmidt camera, the entire region is awash with delicate nebulosity, however this image hardly resolves the dark lanes in NGC2024 or B33. (Horse Head). I feel this is my best composition yet on this region, With north to the left, the entire span of the Zeta Orionis complex and IC434 nebulous strip that contains B33 can be visualized, along with several remarkable blue reflection nebulosities with internal dark details.

Image Details:

The bright convoluted yellowish nebula that dominates the lower left corner is NGC2024, the Flame Nebula. This huge half a degree wide emission/reflection nebula also is cut in half by a dark dust lane, yellow in color. The bottom edge is bluish from reflection from zeta. Zeta Orionis is the brilliant 2nd magnitude star just to the left of center. I is a type O9 hot blue star full of ionizing radiation to light all the nebula in this field.

The red strip of hydrogen nebulosity spanning most of the top half of the field is IC434, which contains B33 - The famous Horse Head Nebula. This is a dark nebula superimposed on IC434 and the top edge is brighter because it is interacting with the giant molecular cloud.

Just to the lower left of B33 is a stunning blue reflection nebula, NGC2023 with an 8th magnitude type B1 star to illuminate it at its center. To the left of Zeta Orionis are two smaller reflection nebula. The upper one, IC431 is relatively featureless, but just below it IC432 changes from a rich blue to purple as it mixes with the glowing hydrogen. There is also a dim 19 magnitude galaxy just to the upper right of the Horse Head, I'll leave it to you to find it with your favorite atlas.

Optics: 8" f/4 Newtonian Astrograph w/Baader MPCC Coma Corrector Platform: Astrophysics AP1200 Camera: Hutech Modified Canon XTi @ ISO800 Exposure: 12 x 5m Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 4/10, Transparency 9/10 Outside Temperature: 35F Processing Tools: Photoshop CS2, Images Plus 3.82 HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS