small size jpg (154 kb)

full size jpg (419 kb)

The Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33) is a dark nebula that is silhouetted against the brighter reddish nebula known as IC 434. It is located approximately 1,600 light years from our solar system.

The nebula is located within the constellation of Orion just south of the star known as Alnitak (Zeta Orionis), which is the easternmost star in Orion's belt. Alnitak is the very bright star directly above the horsehead nebula. To the left of Alnitak is the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024).

Follow this link to see an image of the Horsehead Nebula from the Palomar 60-inch telescope and this one to see an infrared image of the Flame Nebula from the 200-inch Hale Telescope.

This image is a composite from two black and white images taken with the Palomar Observatory's 48-inch (1.2-meter) Samuel Oschin Telescope as a part of the Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey ( POSS II). The images were recorded on two glass photographic plates - one sensitive to red light and the other to blue. The plates were scanned and color combined to produce the image seen here.

The Samuel Oschin Telescope was used to generate the Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey POSS II and the Digital Palomar Observatory Sky Survey DPOSS. Plates for the POSS II survey were donated by the Eastman Kodak Corporation.

The POSS II survey was enabled by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the National Science Foundation. Partial funding for the DPOSS survey was provided by the Norris Foundation.
Plates were scanned at the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the results catalogued at Caltech.
URL for POSS II: http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~wws/poss2.html
URL for DPOSS: http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~george/dposs/

Images are copyrighted by their respective owners. Contact the photographers directly for permission to use their images for any purpose.