Euclid’s view of the Horsehead Nebula

Ensci_euclid20231107c_1024

ensci_euclid20231107c November 7th, 2023

Credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

Euclid shows us a spectacularly panoramic and detailed view of the Horsehead Nebula, also known as Barnard 33 and part of the constellation Orion.

At approximately 1375 light-years away, the Horsehead – visible as a dark cloud shaped like a horse’s head – is the closest giant star-forming region to Earth. It sits just to the south of star Alnitak, the easternmost of Orion’s famous three-star belt, and is part of the vast Orion molecular cloud.

Many other telescopes have taken images of the Horsehead Nebula, but none of them are able to create such a sharp and wide view as Euclid can with just one observation. Euclid captured this image of the Horsehead in about one hour, which showcases the mission's ability to very quickly image an unprecedented area of the sky in high detail.

Technical details: The data in this image were taken in just about one hour of observation. This color image was obtained by combining VIS data and NISP photometry in Y and H bands; its size is 8800 x 8800 pixels. VIS and NISP enable observing astronomical sources in four different wavelength ranges. Aesthetics choices led to the selection of three out of these four bands to be cast onto the traditional Red-Green-Blue color channels used to represent images on our digital screens (RGB).

The blue, green, red channels capture the Universe seen by Euclid around the wavelength 0.7, 1.1, and 1.7 micron respectively. This gives Euclid a distinctive color palette: hot stars have a white-blue hue, excited hydrogen gas appears in the blue channel, and regions rich in dust and molecular gas have a clear red hue. Distant redshifted background galaxies appear very red.

In the image, the stars have six prominent spikes due to how light interacts with the optical system of the telescope in the process of diffraction. Another signature of Euclid special optics is the presence of a few, very faint and small round regions of a fuzzy blue color. These are normal artifacts of complex optical systems, so-called ‘optical ghost’; easily identifiable during data analysis, they do not cause any problem for the science goals.

ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Provider: Euclid

Image Source: https://euclid.caltech.edu/image/euclid20231107c-euclid-s-view-of-the-horsehead-nebula

Curator: Euclid-ESA

Image Use Policy: http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Terms_and_Conditions

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Horsehead Nebula Barnard 33
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
Nebula > Type > Interstellar Medium
Nebula > Appearance > Dark

Distance

Universescale1
1,375 light years
Ensci_euclid20231107c_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 5h 40m 39.6s
DEC = -2° 31’ 52.9”
Orientation
North is 91.5° CCW
Field of View
41.0 x 41.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Orion

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Euclid (VIS) Optical 700.0 nm
Green Euclid (NISP) Infrared 1.1 µm
Red Euclid (NISP) Infrared 1.7 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Ensci_euclid20231107c_1280
×
ID
euclid20231107c
Subject Category
B.4.1.2.   B.4.1.1.   B.4.2.3.  
Subject Name
Horsehead Nebula, Barnard 33
Credits
ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA
Release Date
2023-11-07
Lightyears
1,375
Redshift
1,375
Reference Url
https://euclid.caltech.edu/image/euclid20231107c-euclid-s-view-of-the-horsehead-nebula
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Euclid, Euclid, Euclid
Instrument
VIS, NISP, NISP
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Optical, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
700, 1100, 1700
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
85.165121245328237, -2.5313721576172075
Reference Dimension
3000, 3000
Reference Pixel
1500, 1500
Scale
-0.0002276, 0.0002276
Rotation
91.53
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Euclid-ESA
URL
https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Euclid
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
City
State/Province
Publisher
Euclid NASA Science Center at IPAC (ENSCI)
Publisher ID
ensci
Resource ID
Metadata Date
2024-01-19T00:00:00Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
1,375 light years

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