I trained my telescope at this pair of nebulas in Orion for a total of 10 hours. On the right is the iconic Horsehead nebula – actually a dark cloud of gas in front of the illuminated nebula behind it. To the left is the Flame Nebula. In between, in the upper-left, is the bright star Alnitak – which is the leftmost star in Orion’s belt.
Next time you see Orion in the sky, look at the left of his “belt” and know that something this gorgeous lies hidden there.
Below is a black and white image that represents emissions from ionized Hydrogen gas, as well as a color image. The blue glow surrounding Alnitak is just glare within the camera; it’s a very bright star that makes this particular scene difficult to capture.