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M78 : Reflection Nebula in Orion

Imaged on 10/16/09
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ106N
Mount: Losmandy G-11
Camera/Autoguider: SBIG ST10 XME
Exposures: 2hrs of Lum and 30 min each RGB
Site: Palomar Mountain
Temp: 52 degrees, no wind, excellent seeing

M78 is 1,630 light years away. 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. This region also contains reflected dust.

Shown in the image (yellow bars) is McNeil's Nebula, a variable nebula re-discovered January 23, 2004 by amateur astronomer Jay McNeil. This peculiar looking object is currently classified as a cometary-type reflection nebula. The small nebula has been identified on images taken by Evered Kreimer in October 1966, but not in various other images taken between 1951 and 1991.

(Reprocessed on 2/12/2014)