[M78, AAT-CCD 12]

CCD image of the bright diffuse reflection nebula M78, taken with the MIT/Lincoln Labs CCD camera on the 3.9-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope.

The two brightest illuminating stars are well visible within the blueish reflection nebula, as are NGC 2064 to the WSW (lower right) and faint but larger NGC 2067 to the North-West (upper right), separated from M78 by a dark band. Note the fine detail within the nebula and particularly on its edges, especially to the North and south.

This image was created by David Malin. It is copyrighted and may be used for private purpose only. For any other kind of use, including internet mirroring and storing on CD-ROM, please contact the Photo Permissions Department (photo at aaoepp.aao.gov.au) of the Anglo Australian Observatory.

  • More information on this image (David Malin)
  • More images by David Malin
  • This image was featured as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) February 11, 2002

    [M78, NOAO]

    M78 is part of the Orion complex, a large region of star-forming gas and dust centred around M42 and M43. It is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula in the sky, and fairly easy to see with binoculars (and almost visible to the naked eye, claim some observers). M78 is some 1600 light-years away and around 4 light-years across. Other parts of this giant molecular cloud have their own labels: NGC 2071 to the northeast (upper left), NGC2 067 in close to the northwest (upper right) and NGC 2064 (faint, southwest, lower right), as well as other pieces not in this picture. The present picture is a color composite mosaic of CCD images from the 0.9-meter telescope of the Kitt Peak National Observatory, near Tucson, Arizona, taken in November 1998. Image size is 22.1x28.3 arc minutes.
    Credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

  • More imformation on this image (N.A. Sharp, NOAO)
  • More NOAO images

    [M78, AOP/KPNO Visitor Center]
    Click for full-size image

    Reflection nebula M78 in Orion, as photographed by Ylla and Calvin Pratt, on December 18, 2000, from Kitt Peak near Tucson, Arizona. They took this photo when participating in the Advanced Observing Program of the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) Visitor Center. This image was obtained with AOP's Meade 16in LX200 telescope operating at f/6.3 and SBIG ST8E CCD camera with color filter wheel, and processed by Adam Block. It is a composite of four CCD images: Luminance = 42 min, Red = 10 min, Green = 10 min, and Blue = 20 min. The weaker neighboring reflection nebulae NGC 2064 and NGC 2067 are well visible in this image.
    Credit: Ylla and Calvin Pratt/Adam Block/AURA/NOAO/NSF

  • Adam Block's M78 page with more info on this image
  • More images from the Advanced Observer Program

    [M78, 2MASS IR pic]
    Click for full-size image

    2MASS image of reflection nebula M78. Much detail and many stars become visible in this 2-micrometer wavelength IR image which are hidden behind the dust in above and other visible-light images of this nebula. The two brightest stars illuminating M78, HDE 38563A and 38563B, are prominently visible, together with a cluster of fainter and presumably lower-mass young stars which recently formed in this nebula, from the associated part of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud. This image was cropped from a huge mosaic, created by S. Van Dyk (IPAC). A number of the young stellar objects in this region are highlighted dramatically by their Herbig-Haro outflows; in 1999, 17 Herbig-Haro objects were known in M78.

    In the IR, NGC 2064 can well be traced, but only a small part of NGC 2067 is visible just around the star above (N of) NGC 2064 and right of (preceding, west of) M78. In the IR, the optically dark southern edge appears as a bright and much structured part of the nebula.

    As all 2MASS Atlas representations, this is a false-color IR image, mapping 3 IR wavelength bands into colors: J light (1.2 micron) into blue, H light (1.6 micron) in green, and Ks light (2.2 micron) into red. Thus the blueish region is brightest at shortest wavelengths (closest or "nearest" to visible), the more grey or white outlayers are about equally bright throughout this part of the IR spectrum, and the brown-reddish regions to the south and in NGC 2064 are brighter to the cooler, longer-wavelength ("farther" IR) part of the spectrum.

  • More 2MASS images

  • Amateur images of M78

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: June 15, 2007