Messier 78 (RGB)

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When most non-astronomy types think of Orion they might think of Orion’s Belt and maybe the Sword. Some might know about the Orion Nebula (M42) or even the Horsehead Nebula. But there is a lot going on around that constellation!

This is Messier 78 which technical refers to the reflection nebula in the center but there are several NGC objects in the region including NGC 2064, 2067 and 2071. The whole group is part of the Orion B molecular cloud complex and is about 1,500 light years away from Earth. But in addition to these reflection nebula we have a lot of dark dust and a background hydrogen alpha glow. The combination appears a bit chaotic and while not as traditionally pretty as some nebulae it manages to fascinate just because there is so much going on there.

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