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Horsehead Nebula (NGC2023) Facts

Horsehead Nebula (NGC2023) Facts Dark Nebula in Orion

Horsehead Nebula (NGC2023) is a dark nebula object of interest in space. It lies at a distance of about 1.50 light years away in the constellation of Orion.

It is also referred to as NGC(2023) in the New General Catalogue. This is a list of deep space objects that was compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888 in an update to John Herschel earlier catalogue.

The Dark Nebula's location is 05h 40m 59.0s (R.A.) and -02:27:30 (Dec.).

Horsehead Nebula (NGC2023) has a radius of 4 light years or to put it another way, it has a diameter of 7 light years. It would take a space ship 7 years travelling at the speed of light to get from one side to the other.

The Horsehead nebula (NGC2023) is one of the most famous and most recognisable nebulas in the cosmos. It is referred to as a Dark Nebula. Its name from a small dark patch in the nebula that resembles a horses head.

The cloud is so thick and dense that it obscures the stars that reside behind it. It was first discovered by Scottish Astronomer, Williamina Fleming in 1888 and has since been observed and wondered for the generations since.

It can be located to the south of Alnitak in the constellation of the hunter, aka Orion. The star is one of the three stars that make up the belt of Orion. The star Alnitak is just as fascinating as the Flame nebula is located next to the star.

The pink colour is caused by hydrogen being ionized gas is illuminated from Sigma Orionis, a multiple star system consisting of five stars, of which two are very close together. The area is a stellar nursery where new stars are being created. Wiki

Travel Time to Horsehead Nebula (NGC2023)

The time it will take to travel to this star is dependent on how fast you are going. U.G. has done some calculations as to how long it will take going at differing speeds. A note about the calculations, when I'm talking about years, I'm talking non-leap years only (365 days).

The New Horizons space probe is the fastest probe that we've sent into space at the time of writing. Its primary mission was to visit Pluto which at the time of launch (2006), Pluto was still a planet.

DescriptionSpeed (m.p.h.)Time (years)
Walking4251,481,235.88
Car1208,382,707.86
Airbus A3807361,366,745.85
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.2691,311,045.99
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.54655,522.14
New Horizons Probe33,00030,482.57
Speed of Light670,616,629.001.50

Fact File


NameHorsehead Nebula (NGC2023)
TypeDark Nebula
NGC Id2023
ConstellationOrion
Right Ascension05h 40m 59.0s
Declination-02:27:30
Distance (Lt.Yr)1.500
Radius (Lt.Yr)3.50
Apparent Dimension8x6
Year of Discovery1888
DiscovererWilliamina Fleming


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