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M78 - Reflection Nebula in Orion

RA= 5 hrs 46 min; Dec = 00 deg 01 min

Date & Site:

Imaged on 1/28/17; Little Blair Valley, CA

Conditions: temps in the upper 20's; calm; average seeing


Telescope: TEC 140 940 m at f/7

Guider: SBIG guidehead/Hutech OAG5

Mount: AP 1100 CP3
Camera: ST-10XME; CFW10; Astrodon L RGB Gen II filters



Exposures: 2 hrs of Lum (10 minute subexposures) and 40 min each RGB (5 min subs) for a total of 4 hours

The nebulocity in this region is reflected light from hot young type B stars that ignite surrounding hydrogen and oxygen to form the greenish/blue tint. Reflected dust and dark dust lanes surround the bright reflected gas, including a massive arching band enveloping the nebula.

Shown in the image is McNeil's Nebula (third small red nebula from the right edge), a variable nebula re-discovered January 23, 2004 by amateur astronomer Jay McNeil. This peculiar looking object is a cometary-type reflection nebula. The small nebula can be seen on on images taken by Evered Kreimer in October 1966, but not in others taken between 1951 and 1991.

M78 is 1,630 light years away.

(image reduced to 60% of original size)

FOV = 52 x 35 arc minutes

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