Clouds of interstellar dust drift through our galaxy, blown about by stellar wind and radiation. Mostly, these clouds appear as random shapes, but some have forms that remind us of earthly objects. The Horsehead Nebula it is embedded in the immense complex of star-forming gas and dust surrounding the Orion Nebula about 1,500 light-years from Earth. The dark nebula is cataloged as Barnard 33 and is visible because its dust is silhouetted against the bright emission nebulae which lie farther away from us. The prominent horse head portion of the nebula is really protrusion from a larger cloud of dust which can be seen extending off the bottom of the picture. The nebula is a difficult object to view with a small instrument. This color image is a montage of exposures made with a digital camera and astronomical BVR filters using a 1-meter diameter telescope.
Image Credit: U. S. Naval Observatory