Hide and Seek Behind Interstellar Dust
Messier: M 78
Constellation: Orion


This is one of the most fascinating regions in the Orion-Monoceros complex of interstellar matter. Even without much explanation the observer may easily notice the peculiar darkness around the two reflection nebulae at the center of the frame, M 78 and NGC 2071. And indeed, there is plenty of interstellar dust there hiding some interesting astrophysical phenomena called "Herbig-Haro-Objects". They are named after the first astronomers who investigated the astrophysical background in detail, George Herbig and Guillermo Haro. These nebulosities appear when young stars eject hot gas into dust clouds in their close vicinity. A few Herbig-Haro-Objects are located to the lower left of M78. (North is right!)

They are specifically interesting for amateurs because of their variability.
Feel free to compare the current appearance with Michael Posavec' picture dated from 2008! (North is up there!)

The night was exceptionaly clear, but pretty cold. After a little bit more than 3 hrs exposure my battery gave up and I did not dare to keep on running on my car battery. Given the exposure time below plan, the dark lanes are a little bit noisy, but please consider, these regions belong to the darkest objects in the entire night sky.

Mind that the vertical "beam" though the left part of the picture is not real but most probably a reflection from one of the bright stars in Orion's Belt.


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