Astronomy Picture of the Day



The Horsehead Nebula

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#101080 by @ 28.05.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
The Horsehead Nebula


Explanation:
One of the most identifiable nebulae in the sky,
the Horsehead Nebula in Orion, is part of a large, dark,
molecular cloud.

Also known as Barnard 33, the unusual shape was first
discovered on a
photographic plate in the late 1800s.

The red glow originates from
hydrogen
gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star
Sigma Orionis.

The darkness of the
Horsehead is caused mostly by thick
dust,
although the lower part of the
Horsehead's neck casts a shadow to the left.

Streams of gas leaving the nebula are funneled by a strong
magnetic field.

Bright spots in the
Horsehead Nebula's base are
young stars just in the process of forming.

Light takes about 1500 years to reach us from the
Horsehead Nebula.

The
above image was taken with the
0.9-meter telescope at

Kitt Peak National Observatory.




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