Posts Tagged ‘Horse Head Nebula’

02/04/2016 – Ephemeris – Orion is visible from everywhere

February 4, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, February 4th.  The Sun will rise at 7:58.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 5:55.   The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 5:21 tomorrow morning.

The constellation of Orion the hunter is now due south at 9 p.m. It is an upright rectangle of bright stars, the shoulders and knees of this giant.  In the center are three stars in a straight line, his belt, and from his belt hangs a sword.  Orion is the most famous of all constellations world-wide, due to its bright stars, and straddles the celestial equator, so that it is visible at least in part from pole to pole.  It contains the closest star forming region to us, the Great Orion Nebula seen easily in his sword with binoculars or small telescope.  The Horse Head Nebula is found below the left belt star, but only in photographs.  Another photographic feature is Barnard’s Loop, the partial shell of an ancient supernova to the left of Orion.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Otion as seem from most of the Earth

Orion from mid latitudes north of the equator. Orion would be upside down if viewed south of the equator. Created using Stellarium.

Orion from near the north pole.

Orion from near the north pole. Created using Stellarium.

Orion from near the south pole

Orion from near the south pole. Created using Stellarium.

Orion's Nebulae

The nebulae in Orion including the Great Orion Nebula in the sword, the Horse Head Nebula below the leftmost star of Orion’s Belt named Alnitak. Barnard’s loop is the big arc on the left. Just above Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, I neglected to mention it in the program. It can be spotted in a telescope, especially if Alnitak is moved off the edge of the field of view. Credit Rogelio Bernal Andreo, via Wikipedia.

Note the nebula at the lower right.  It’s the Witch’s Head Nebula, which I believe is shown brighter than it actually is.  It’s being illuminated by the blue giant star Rigel to the left of it.


02/21/2014 – Ephemeris – Some nebulae in Orion

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, February 21st.  The sun will rise at 7:33.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 6:19.   The moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:31 tomorrow morning.

With the moon out of the sky, it’s a good time to get those binoculars or small telescope out to view at least one nebula in the constellation Orion the hunter and maybe even more.  Orion is in the south with those belt stars lie in a straight line.  Below the belt are three fainter stars, vertically arranged: Orion’s sword.  In binoculars each of those stars are multiples.  Around what looks like a center star there is a haze, which is the Great Orion Nebula, the nearest star forming region to us at around 1,400 light years away.  Some of its gasses envelop the stars that make up the top star of the sword.  Orion hosts the famous Horse head Nebula, which unfortunately can only be seen in photographs, It is right below the left star of the belt.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Orion's Nebulae

Orion’s Nebulae in the southern part of the constellation as displayed by Stellarium.

A couple of nebulae are seen here that are not in the text above.  M78 is a small nebula north of the belt star Alnitak.  It is visible in a telescope. The Witch Head Nebula, another large nebula, shining by the reflected light of Rigel.  It’s officially in the neighboring constellation of Eridanus, and I believe strictly a photographic nebula.  The witch head is best seen if the image is turned upside down.