Saturday, February 13, 2016

Messier 78

M78 is a reflection nebula in the Orion Molecular Cloud (OMC). The two stars in the center of the nebula in this image are 10th magnitude and it is the reflection of these stars in gas and dust that makes M78 visible. M78 is a stellar nursery, like much of the OMC. The nebula contains 45 T Tauri variable stars in the process of formation, as well as 17 Herbig-Haro objects (gaseous jets of nebulosity associated with new born stars).

In this image, the nebula itself is barely visible above the skyglow background. I had to process it heavily to achieve this image.