Horsehead Nebula Update

  This is an image taken during the month of October 2015 at the Heppner OHV Park using my new Hutech Canon 6D full frame modified camera. This is from 54 sub-exposures from 3 to 5 minutes each unguided at a Bortle 1 site.  This has been updated with the collection of 24 additional subexposures of 2 minutes each from The Cheifland Star Party in Cheifland Florida.  I only had one clear night during the entire week; but made the best of it since IC -434 was up nearly 54 degrees in the sky ;  this made for a great image capture run.  

Copyright Don Curry

Same data as above except cropped to see better inner detail of Horsehead.

This is from my latest data collected from IC 434 The Horsehead Nebula from 23 hours of Ha using 1200 second guided exposures. I should be able to collect additional color data next winter from this amazing part of the sky. Imaged  during the months of December 2017 through March 2018 from my backyard.

The capture was imaged using my Celestron C14 with a Starizona LF coma Corrector Focal Reducer at f7 2650mm.

The camera is a QSI- 683 WSG-8 using a Astrodon 3nm Ha filter. The mount is a Paramount PME.

​The Flame Nebula, designated as NGC 2024 and Sh2-277, is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 1,500 light years away.

     The bright star Alnitak, the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas. The flame nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula.

The Horsehead Nebula 

IC 434

The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula in the constellation Orion. The nebula is located just to the south of the very bright star Alnitak, which is the farthest east on Orion's Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The nebula was first recorded in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Willimina Fleming on photographic plate B2312 taken at the Harvard College Observatory. The Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth. It is one of the most identifiable nebula because of the shape of its swirling cloud of dark dust and gases, which bears some resemblance to a horse's head when viewed from Earth.

    The red or pinkish glow originates from hydrogen gas predominately behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. Magnetic fields channel the gases leaving the nebula into streams, shown as streaks in the background glow. A glowing strip of hydrogen gas marks the edge of the massive cloud and the densities of stars are noticeably different on either side.

   The heavy  and concentrations of dust in the Horsehead Nebula region and the neighbouring Orion Complex are localized, resulting in alternating sections of nearly complete opacity and transparency. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused mostly by thick dust blocking the light of stars behind it. The lower part of Horsehead's neck cast a shadow to the left. The visible dark nebula emerging from the gaseous complex is an active site of the formation of " low-mass " stars. Bright spots in Horsehead Nebula's base are young stars just in the process of forming.




This is from the same image above but processed with more deeper tonal color and cropped up closer to see the inner detail of the dust surrounding The Horsehead

​The Horsehead Nebula


This is my first ever multiple sub exposures I have  done from my backyard. The captured were taken on Jan. 20th ,28th and 29th , Feb. 14th & Feb.22nd of 2015.  The images were from approximately 113 subs in total ranging from 2 minute unguided subs to 60 second subs for a total of close to 3 hours of imaging.

   I wanted to stretch the histrogram as much as possible and needed to exercise some caution with the Moon at near 76 percent illuminated on the 29th I had to lower the exposure time down to 60 seconds each to avoid over saturation.

  I am really thrilled with the results from this image and many subtle details really come through

I used 11 flats, 10 bias and 9 darks in the process of the image in Deep Sky Stacker. ISO setting was ISO 400.

​My Celestron C11 was used with Hyperstar III lens attached to my Canon T2i Full Spectrum Camera at F2 520mm.

Enjoy This Capture!!