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Object Name: M78 Region
Distance: 1,350 Light Years
Size: 8 x 6 Arc Minutes
Telescope: Borg 71
Exposures: L 24×300 Bin 1, R 36×180 Bin 2, G 36×180 Bin 2, B 36×180 Bin 2
This is my attempt at the M78 region with a wide field telescope. Messier 78 is also known as NGC 2068. The above image was captured from my house in a Bortle 6 zone.
Messier 78 is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. M78 is in the center of my image and consists of NGC 2064, NGC 2067, NGC 2068, and NGC 2071. The large, bright nebula in the center is NGC 2068. To the right is NGC 2067. Above these two are NGC 2071. Above NGC 2071 is a small reflection nebula but I have not been able to identify it.
There is a lot of dust in this region that hides the young hot stars that are forming in this area. Both Messier 78 and NGC 2071 are the result of these young stars blasting away the surrounding gas and dust creating a vast void in the surrounding dust. Eventually these two reflection nebula will join as one larger nebula as the surrounding dust is ejected by new star formation. There are approximately 192 newly discovered stars and 45 T Tauri stars in Messier 78. T Tauri stars are proto stars that have not started the fusion process.
There are 21 Herbig-Haro objects in this region and several are seen in my image. The HH objects are narrow jets of ejected gas from newly formed stars that collide with surrounding gas and dust. They appear as a reddish jet set against the dark dusty background. There is also an unusual nebula that has appeared in recent photographs that was not present before. McNeil’s Nebula was recently discovered and appears and disappears at times. It is visible in my image as a fan shaped object below M78 in the top portion of the dust cloud just to the right of two side by side stars.
The red nebula seen in the upper left corner is part of Barnard’s loop which is an emission nebula that partially circles the belt of the constellation Orion. It is cataloged as SH2-276. Part of a star cluster NGC 2112 is seen at the far left and middle of my image.