Horsehead Nebula

Barnard 33

Proper NameHorsehead Nebula
NGC/IC NumberAssociated with IC 434
Other DesignationsBarnard 33
ConstellationOrion
Right Ascension5h 41m 00s
Declination-2° 28' 4"
Distancec.1,550 light years
c.475 parsecs
DimensionsApparent: 1° 6' x 4'
Actual: 2.7 x 1.8 light years
Optimum VisibilityJanuary

A famous dark nebula in the constellation of Orion. A plume of obscuring dust takes a form very reminiscent of a horse's head, dark against a glowing background.

The Horsehead Nebula

This plume of dark material makes up one of the most recognisable objects in the night sky - the Horsehead Nebula in Orion. The horsehead shape is visible against the glowing pink of the emission nebula IC 434.

Location of the Horsehead Nebula

The famous dark Horsehead Nebula lies in the central regions of Orion. It is closely associated with Alnitak, the eastern star of Orion's Belt, and with nearby Sigma Orionis.

Large-scale view of the Horsehead Nebula

A view of the sky around the Horsehead Nebula. The dark shape of a horse's head is silhouetted against the red-pink nebula IC 434, near Alnitak in Orion's Belt (shown to the left of the nebula in this view).

Relative Galactic Position of the Horsehead Nebula

Like our Sun, the Horsehead Nebula lies in that part of the Galactic spiral known as the Orion Arm. It forms part of a complex collection of nebulae scattered throughout this part of the Galaxy, centred in the constellation of Orion.

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