Emission Nebula

Horsehead and Flame Nebulas

IC434, the pink emission nebula, frames Barnard 33, a dark nebula in the shape of a horse head. This image also contains Flame Nebula, a combination of emission and reflection nebula from stars hidden behind an obscuring finger of dust, as well as numerous reflection nebula scattered about the frame. The brightest star is Alnitak, the eastern most star of Orion’s belt.


Cygnus - North American And Pelican Nebulas

The North America nebula, the recognizable shape to the left of the dark lane of dust in this image, and Pelican nebula, the less identifiable avian shape to the right of the same dust, are part of a large HII (Helium II) region of space in our galaxy, in the constellation Cygnus. Cygnus, or the Swan, is one of the icons of the summer sky.

Reflection Nebula

Reflection nebula are light reflections. Usually caused by a pairing of two key things: stars and nearby dust, reflection nebula are most frequently blue in color, however they can also be orange, yellow, or reddish, depending on the color of the starlight being reflected. Reflection nebula are usually fairly small, however Orion Nebula, the Great Nebula, is one of the largest in the sky (and it so happens to also be comprised of emission nebula and dark nebula as well.)

Orion's Sword Wide Field - Blog

Orion’s Sword, a complex of emission nebula as well as the largest reflection nebula in the skies. This wide field view of Orion’s Sword included Orion Nebula, Running Man (or Gumbi) nebula, as well as a number of other small reflection nebula scattered about the field.


The Pleiades

The Pleiades, the Seven Sisters (and in this image, their two parents as well, the two bright glowing stars set a bit below the sisters themselves), sometimes called the Micro Dipper, is the most well known reflection nebula complex in the sky. It is caused by interstellar dust from within the region reflecting the bright blue light of the stars of the Pleiades open cluster.


Dark Nebula

Dark nebula are light absorbers, patches and filaments and swaths of dust, often forming gigantic dust lanes in our galaxy. Formed of black body particles…dust, of any range of variety, permeate our galaxy and other galaxies. The dust of dark nebula are generally the medium that gives rise to reflection nebula, as the dist reflects the light of nearby stars. Dark nebula are often invisible to the astronomer, as they frequently exist in regions of our galaxy backed by the blackness of interstellar and even intergalactic space. Dark nebula are usually revealed by the light behind them…the densely packed stars of the milky way, or that of a nearby nebula set behind.

Currently no dark nebula images.

SNRs & Planetary Nebula

Planetary nebula are interesting and usually quite unique objects in space. Frequently forming bubble shapes, often whispy and usually ill-defined, sometimes measurably fluctuating in size and shape over relatively short periods of time (often a matter of mere years), planetary nebula are usually thought to be the remnants of stellar explosions, or supernova remnants (SNRs)…but could also be caused by other forces.

Currently no planetary nebula images.

Older Nebula Images

Orion Nebula and Running Man - Original Color

Orion Nebula and Running Man – Original Color

Horse Head and Flame Nebulas

Horse Head and Flame Nebulas

The Pleiades Reflection Nebulas

The Pleiades Reflection Nebulas

Orion "Axis of Nebula"

Orion “Axis of Nebula”