The Horsehead Nebula

  • Carl Crum ’24

The famous Horsehead Nebula – or Barnard 33 – was officially discovered by Williamina Fleming in 1888 and catalogued by E. E. Barnard in 1894. The Horsehead, which is at the center of the photo, is a dark molecular cloud which sits in front of the bright emission nebula IC 434 and lies directly next to Alnitak, the lowest star in Orion’s Belt. The fiery-looking nebula below Altinak is the Flame Nebula, which is illuminated by an open cluster of stars that’s forming inside of it. Although the Horsehead region seems quite large, it is only a small fragment of the entire Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, which spans hundreds of light years across!

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