Astrophotography by David Gares

Running Man Nebula - NGC 1977

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NGC 1977, the Running Man Nebula, is an emission and reflection nebula located in Orion.  It's often photographed in wide-field images together with the nearby Great Orion Nebula.  The group of stars near NGC 1977 appear as the northernmost "star" seen by the naked eye in Orion's sword.  The blue nebulosity is starlight reflected by dust (reflection nebula).  Some of the stars are hot enough to excite wisps of gas to emit the hydrogen-alpha reddish glow (emission nebula). Also pictured below are portions of NGC 1973 and NGC 1975, creating a continuous glow of gas and dust.  My light pollution filter aggressively blocks some of the bluish hues.  Thus my image isn't as good as those taken from darker sites, but it came out better than I expected (the silhouetted runner is well-defined).  NGC 1977 will be a great candidate for the new Tak due to its large apparent size.  The stars and nebula are very much outshined by the Great Orion Nebula (center star in Orion's sword) and are often overlooked.

"Running Man" Nebula NGC 1977
 (Click image to enlarge)


 Object Details:  
 Type:  Reflection/emission nebula
 Constellation:  Orion
 Distance:  1500 light-years
 Size:  Approx. 9 light-years

 Image Details:
 Date:  Oct. 17, 2004
 Site:  Harahan, LA
 Exposure:  CCD, 9 x 5 min.
 Filters:  Orion SkyGlow LPR
 Processing:  MSB Astroart 3.0
 Telescope:  10" Meade LX200
 Reducer:  Meade, f/4.3
 CCD:  Starlight Express MX7C
 Autoguider:  S.T.A.R. 2000

Note:  One of my exposures was ruined by a satellite trail (a first for me), so this is a stack of nine instead of the usual ten.