The Virtual Amateur Astronomer®, Image of Horsehead Nebula, Internet Astronomy by Jupiter Scientific
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A Dark Nebula

     Located near the easternmost star Zeta Orionis (Alnitak) of Orion's Belt (See Sky Altlas) of three stars is the Horsehead Nebula:
image Horsehead Nebula
The nebula is so small that one cannot see that it is in the shape of a horse's head. It just looks like a semi-circle of black against a diffuse luminous background. The Horsehead Nebula is created by dust and dark gas that block out the light from the nebula IC 434. Also visible in the eyepiece above the Horsehead Nebula is Alnitak and to the left of it is the Flame Nebula NGC 2024. Sigma Orionis is to the right of the Horsehead Nebula, and the object just to the upper left of the Horsehead Nebula is the reflection nebula NGC 2023, a non-luminous cloud of dust rendered visible by light reflected off it from a nearby star – here, it is so small that is looks like a star.

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