The Horsehead and Flame Nebulas
The horsehead nebula is my all time favourite object – it really does look like a sea horse’s head! It’s a very tough target to image and even tougher to see (I have heard of people seeing it visually through 20″ scopes but I think even that is rare and only from very dark and transparent sites). The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula, it is just some dust, sitting in the way of the light from a nearby bright star, the Flame nebula is similer, ultraviolet light from the brightest star in the image, is knocking electrons out of the Hydrogen gas and causing it to glow the characteristic red colour.
The Horsehead & Flame nebula is located in Orions belt, the really bright star in the image is the leftmost/bottom of the three stars in Orions Belt – Alnitak.
The imaging kit was my usual setup of F4 8″ Newt, QHY8 and a Lodestar for guiding, I tool about 1hr of RGB in 5 min subs and 2 hrs of Ha data in 10 min subs. I think I really should have gone for more RGB but with the weather here is Scotland you have got to grab the skies while you can and move on to the next target….