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Horsehead Nebula

Given my fondness for horses, it’s no surprise that my favorite stellar object is the Horsehead Nebula. This dark nebula (also called Barnard 33) can be found close to Alnitak in Orion’s Belt. Its silhouette is clearly visible against the red emission nebula IC 434. To the lower left of the Horsehead Nebula you can find the bluish reflection nebula NGC 2023. And further to the left features prominently the Flame Nebula. The Horsehead Nebula is a very faint object. It cannot be seen by the naked eye, and even in telescopes with larger apertures you might need a special filter to detect its outline.
I took this image with a modified DSLR camera, an 8″ refracting telescope with a focal length of 1600mm, and a guide camera that allowed longer exposure times. Image processing was rather intense as it not only involved stacking the images but also “cleaning” them with the help of so-called calibration frames. Thanks to expert astrophotographer Eduardo Latorre and his helpful suggestions my first venture into “serious” astrophotography was a successful one.