Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year Category Winner
The Horsehead Nebula (IC434):
The famous Horsehead Nebula is arguably the most recognizable celestial object. This image comprises the dark nebula (Barnard 33), the surrounding red emission nebula (IC 434) and the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024).
We took the image during a trip to remote Lake San Antonio, where Milky Way is easily visible. We decided to spend the entire trip capturing this iconic nebula, and the results were quite impressive for us.
This image was taken with a monochrome CCD camera, which we had recently acquired. We took multiple images with red, green, blue, and clear filters in front of the camera . We then combined the images into one full-color image. In total, we took 1 hour and 30 minutes of exposure.
What the judges said:
This is a superb image of the Horsehead Nebula. It shows clearly the well-known red glow that appears to come from behind the horsehead. This glow is produced by hydrogen gas that has been ionized by neighbouring stars. The image draws particular attention to the cloud of heavily concentrated dust within the horse’s head. This is silhouetted against the red glow because it blocks so much of the light that is trying to get through.
Will Gater, a judge in the competion said: “The star colours are beautifully controlled in this image. The detail in the horse’s head and the Flame Nebula are particularly good, too.”
Another image of ours, the Heart Nebula, won Highly Commended in the same competition.
More about the images at: