IC 434 - The Horsehead Nebula

Photographically detected around the beginning of the 20th century, the Horsehead is a dark globule of dust and non-luminous gas, obscuring the light coming from behind.  The background is actually IC 424, while the dark nebula in the foreground is actually Barnard 33 (B33).

This area of diffuse nebulosity is located 1600 light years distant in the constellation Orion.

January 29, 2009  19:06 hrs - 21:20 hrs
Meade 14" LX200GPS at f/4 wtih Meade DSI III Pro
15 X 300 sec  unbinned using Astronomik CLS filter for luminance
5X 300 sec unbinned R, 19 G and 22 B both binned 2 X 2 for 60 sec.
Guided, west is up   Processed in Registax, Photoshop CS3 and NeatImage
Wishing Star Observatory     hgp



Earlier attempts are shown below.  The colors are a bit over the top but that's the way the RGB came out.

January 24, 2009  19:44 hrs - 21:44 hrs
Meade 14" LX200GPS at f/4 wtih Meade DSI III Pro
9 X 300 sec L unbinned, with 10 R, 9 G and 9 B, all binned 2 X 2 and all at 60 sec.
Guided, north is up
Wishing Star Observatory     hgp

Here's the same image, just in luminance:

I'd tried the same thing in Ha and while the raw images looked better than the raw L images, there were only 5 exposures in Ha and this finished L came out a bit better.


This was my first Horsehead image.  I didn't get the contrast that I was looking for, but was amazed at how stacking removes "noise" from the image.  Dawn was breaking toward the end of the imaging run and the last images were blank/white.











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