Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory photo ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical skyscapes that connect Earth and the night sky. Join Miguel here as he takes us through his photograph "The Rich Colorful Field of Orion's Belt."
Orion is teeming with nebulas in this colorful deep-space image.
In the top center of the image, three bright blue supergiant stars — Mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitak (from left to right) — form a stellar triplet also known as Orion's Belt, located in the constellation Orion the Hunter. This colorful starfield features two bright red clouds of hydrogen gas in the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.
Following the vast cloud of dense, brown gas and dust downward, we find Messier 78, a bright- blue reflection nebula located in the center of the picture. Unlike emission nebulas, which emit their own light, reflection nebulas reflect light from nearby stars. [The Splendor of the Orion Nebula (Photos)]
The second bright red cloud that spans horizontally across the photo is the end of Barnard's Loop (designated Sh 2-276), an emission nebula that forms an enormous arc around the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. Beneath Barnard's Loop in the bottom center of the image is yet another interesting dark nebula, LDN 1622, also known as the Boogie Man Nebula.
The image was taken from the Cumeada Observatory, headquarters of Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal.
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