Contains: NGC 2071, M 78, NGC 2068, NGC 2067, NGC 2064
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M78 and McNeil's Nebula

Technical card

Imaging telescope or lens: Astro-Physics Riccardi-Honders 305mm

Imaging camera: FLI ML8300

Mount: Paramount ME

Guiding telescope or lens: Astro-Physics Riccardi-Honders 305mm

Software: PixInsight

Filter: Astrodon LRGB CCD Gen II E-Series

Resolution: 3326x2504

Dates: Dec. 22, 2017

Frames: 120x600"

Integration: 20.0 hours

Avg. Moon age: 3.76 days

Avg. Moon phase: 15.19% job: 1870040

RA center: 86.687 degrees

DEC center: 0.082 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.995 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 1.448 degrees

Field radius: 0.575 degrees

Locations: Deep Sky West Observatory, Rowe, MN, United States


The constellation of Orion is a treasure-trove of deep-sky nebulosity, not only the famous emission nebulae, but also interstellar dust clouds. This is one of them, M78 or NGC2068, an impressive blue reflection nebula about 1500 light-years away and 5 light-years across in the center of the image. The blue nebulosity in the upper part of the image is known as NGC2071. The whole scenery gets its dramatic touch by streaks of dark clouds cutting through the blue. Surrounding everything is the eerie dark-red glow resulting from hydrogen emission.

A particular treasure is McNeil’s Nebula, a small blue and yellow speck in the dark lane just below M78. This small reflection nebula is illuminated by a single pre-main sequence star and was discovered by the amateur astronomer Jay McNeil in January 2004 with a 3-inch refractor from a suburban backyard. To capture an eruption of a new-born star so early in its evolution is an extremely rare occurrence. It is highly variable and was not observed after 2004 until 2008. Right now it seems to be very bright again!

This image is an LRGB composite uses 20 hours of data captured at the Deep Sky West Observatory.




Sky plot

Sky plot


M78 and McNeil's Nebula,