Took this in Kessingland Suffolk on the 29/12/2016. I was very lazy in my set up and my polar alignment was pretty bad so only managed to salvage 42 subs of 75 secs. Canon 700D, Canon 400mm L, F6.3 ISO800, iOptron SkyTracker.
Messier 78 is a spectacular reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. It is located just to the north east of Orion’s Belt at a distance of about 1500 light years. The area comprises the nebulae NGC 2064, NGC 2067, NGC 2068 and NGC 2071.
In the centre of Messier 78 lies two bright stars, HD 38563A and HD 38563B, which cause the illumination of the area’s dense clouds of gas and dust. The nebula is mostly blue due to the reflection and scattering of light from the young bright stars, but this light is reddened significantly in places where complex patches of thick dust clouds obscure the scene. Throughout the image several Herbig-Haro objects can also be seen, especially towards the upper left. These are small reddish irregular patches of nebulosity caused by jets shooting out from newborn young stars within the clouds.
This broad, beautiful mosaic spans almost 20 degrees across planet Earth’s sky. The nebula-rich region lies near the edge of the Orion-Eridanus superbubble, filled with looping, expanding shells of gas and dust embedded in molecular clouds near the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy. Recognizable at the left is the expansive Seagull Nebula, composed of emission nebula NGC 2327, seen as the seagull’s head, with the more diffuse IC 2177 as the wings and body. Some 3,800 light-years away, the wings of the Seagull Nebula spread about 240 light-years, still within our local spiral arm.
The bluish light of Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major and brightest star in the night, easily dominates the scene at right but shines from a distance of only 8.6 light-years. Study the big picture and you should also be rewarded with star cluster Messier 41, also known as NGC 2287, not to mention the mighty Thor’s Helmet.