NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Horsehead Nebula, optical image. North is at left. The distinctive horsehead shape is formed by the dark nebula B33 being silhouetted against the bright emission nebula IC 434. The blue-white area at lower left is the reflection nebula NGC 2023. An emission nebula is a cloud of gas and dust that glows as the hydrogen gas it contains is ionised by hot stars within it. A reflection nebula does not emit light, but reflects the light from other stars. The nebulae lie about 1500 light years away in the constellation Orion. Photographed by the NSF 0.9-metre telescope, Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA.
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