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"Horsehead Nebula -- B33" 11/11/99 Kitt Peak, Arizona
(Image by Adam Block, Willis Greiner and Cheryl Price. Copyright NOAO, all rights reserved.)

This CCD image was obtained using a 16" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope operating at f/6.3. The camera used was a SBIG ST-8; sky chart software was Software Bisque's The Sky, acquisition and image manipulation software was Cyanogen's Maxim DL. Three 300-second exposures were taken and combined to form a raw composite image. Dark and flat-field exposures were taken and applied to the raw images. A maximum-entropy algorithm was then applied to the combined data, resulting in the final image shown here.

The Horsehead Nebula is undoubtedly the best known example of a dark nebula in the entire heavens. However, it is invisible both to the naked eye and to the eye of the telescope; only through long photographic time exposures does its spectacular detail begin to appear. The Horsehead itself is a great obscuring cloud of dark matter; what it is obscuring is a hotly argued matter of debate. It is within our galaxy, and the entire formation is dozens of light years across.

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All images and narratives copyright Willis Greiner, all rights reserved.

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