Flame Nebula
New general catalog of nebulae and clusters of stars: NGC 2024
Constellation: Orion

Another bizarre cocktail of gas and dust can be found next to the star ζ Orionis, the left of the three stars forming Orion's belt.

A mosaic of dark matter, red glowing hydrogen gas and dust brightly lit by the blue light of young, massive stars is arranged in a way an artist couldn't have done better.

A delicate difference in colour can be noticed if one compares the blueish-red flame nebula to the deeply red horsehead-nebula at the right lower boundary of the image and the blue nebula left of the latter. The red nebula consists of pure hydrogen gas, the blue one reflects the light of the embedded star and the flame nebula is evidently a combination of both.

The ring around ζ Orionis is not a real object, but a diffraction pattern.

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