Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors
Astrophotography © Brian A. Morganti
Emission Nebula Sh2-264
Dark Nebula B 30-32, 225 & Blue Reflection Nebula Cederblad 51
Mouseover the above image to see the designations of the various objects
Just to the north of the constellation Orion there is a large circular complex of nebulosity located above Orion's head known as Sh2-264. The above image lies along the northern margin of this much larger complex and contains several interesting deep sky features. First, there is the bright emission nebula itself which is punctuated by several dark nebula regions. Barnard 32 (B 32) is the intensely dark nebula, somewhat reminiscent of the famous Horsehead nebula, that intrudes into the large glowing cloud on the right side above center. B 31 extends to the north (up) from B 32 and B 30 surrounds the blue reflection nebula Cederblad 51 near the center of the image. B 225 is another dark nebula that obscures stars at the base of the emission nebula.
This complex of deep sky objects lies about 1300 light years from Earth and is located just to the northwest of the triangular grouping of stars marking the head of the constellation Orion The Hunter. Recently, the Spitzer Space Telescope project identified this area as a star-birthing region with numerous low mass stars and brown dwarfs.