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Horsehead and Flame from the Winter Star Party 2010

The one night it was clear and nearly windless at the 2010 WSP I was able to capture 24 usable 5 minute exposures of this area. Being 19° further South from my home in New Hampshire really brings Orion high up into the night sky.

Imaged on 2/11/2010
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106N
Camera: Canon 350Da
Exposure: 24 x 300 sec ISO 1600
Mount: Losmandy G11 Gemini

The Flame Nebula, designated as NGC 2024 (and Sh2-277) is an emission nebula in the Constellation Orion. It is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away.
The bright star Alnitak (ζ Ori),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.

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Horsehead and Flame from the Winter Star Party 2010