Flame Nebula (NGC 2024)

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About this Image

The bright bluish star towards the top right corner is Alnitak, the easternmost star of the three bright stars forming the Belt of Orion This star shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame shaped nebula structure and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there.
Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula lying outside of this field of view.
To the top left corner there is the blue reflection nebula vdB 51 (IC 432) backed up by a red glowing ionized hydrogen cloud.

North is to the top left.

Find a wider view of this area here.

Find a deep infrared image by VISTA of this area here.


Technical Details


16" cassegrain in corrected secondary focus at f/10

Mount ASA DDM-85XL
Camera SBIG STX16803 at -30C, STX filter wheel
Filters Baader 65x65mm LRGB
Date January 2012
Location Wildon/Austria
Sky Conditions mag 5.5 sky, raw FWHM 2", temperature -5 C
Exposure Ha:R:G:B = 420:80:80:80 minutes (30-minute sub-exposures for H-alpha, 10 min subs for RGB)
Programs used Autoslew
Maxim DL 5
Photoshop CS5