M78 in Orion
The sinous and slightly menacing nebula Messier 78 is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780 and included by Charles Messier in his catalog of comet-like objects that same year. In this image I've added in some hydrogen alpha data to the Red channel which makes the image noisy but brings out some surrounding detail in the red glowing gas cloud
M78 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula of a group of nebulae that include NGC 2064, NGC 2067 and NGC 2071. This group belongs to the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex and is about 1,600 light years distant from Earth. M78 is easily found in small telescopes as a hazy patch and involves two stars of 10th magnitude. These two stars, HD 38563A and HD 38563B, are responsible for making the cloud of dust in M78 visible by reflecting their blue light.
About 45 variable stars of the T Tauri type, young stars still in the process of formation, as well as some 17 Herbig-Haro objects are known in M78.
Orion Optics UK AG16 Astrograph: SBIG 11000 M: Paramount ME2 Mount
Data capture with CCD Autopilot and TheSkyX Pro, with Tpoint
Image processing with CCS Stack; Pixinsight; Photoshop CS5
Lum 20x8 mins; H alpha 16x10 mins; R,G,B 16x3 mins
464 mins total: 7hr 44mins, all binned 1x1