Nebulae - Barry Wilson
M78, Barnard's Loop and LDN1622

M78, Barnard's Loop and LDN1622

The nebula Messier 78 (also known as M 78) is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780 and included by Charles Messier in his catalog of comet-like objects that same year. M78 belongs to the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex and is about 1,600 light years distant from Earth.

Barnard's Loop or Sh2-276 is an emission nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex which also contains the dark Horsehead and bright Orion nebulae. The loop takes the form of a large arc centred approximately on the Orion Nebula (diagonally bisecting the image). The stars within the Orion Nebula are believed to be responsible for ionizing the loop.

The loop extends over about 600 arcminutes as seen from Earth, covering much of Orion. It is well seen in long-exposure photographs, although observers under very dark skies may be able to see it with the naked eye.

Recent estimates place it at a distance of either 518 light years or 1434 ly giving it dimensions of either about 100 or 300 ly across respectively. It is thought to have originated in a supernova explosion about 2 million years ago.

LDN1622 or The Boogie-Man Nebula is seen just enetring the frame at the bottom left; LDN 1622 is thought to be much closer than Orion's more famous nebulae, perhaps only 500 light-years away.

Although this faint nebula was certainly observed by earlier astronomers, it is named after the pioneering astrophotographer E. E. Barnard who photographed it and published a description in 1894 (Wikipedia).

LRGB composition, total integration 4hrs (with synthetic green channel due to weather!), December 2015. Takahashi FSQ85 EDX at F3.9 - Avalon Linear Fast Reverse - QSI683-wsg - Astrodon LRGB filters.

M78Barnard's LoopLDN1622Orion