The Horsehead Nebula

Orion's Horsehead Nebula (the dark hook protruding into the pink streak running up and down in the lower part of the image) is a famous challenge for visual observers, requiring a dark sky and decent observing skills. My image includes several other features of this patch of Orion, including the pale Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) in the lower left, the small reflection nebula NGC 2023 to its right, and the brilliant star Alnitak, the easternmost star in Orion's belt.

This image was made with my 92mm refractor from Scout Key in Florida, home of the Winter Star Party. The need for more exposure time is shown by the noise that mottles the image.

Image copyright by Joe Bergeron.