Witch Head Nebula

156. Witch Head Nebula


IC 2118  RA: 5h 06.9'  Dec: -07 13'   Eridanus (Eri)

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IC 2118 (also known as Witch Head Nebula due to its shape) is an extremely faint reflection nebula believed to be an ancient supernova remnant or gas cloud illuminated by nearby supergiant star Rigel in the constellation of Orion. It lies in the Orion constellation, about 900 light-years from Earth. The nature of the dust particles, reflecting blue light better than red, is a factor in giving the Witch Head its blue color. Radio observations show substantial carbon monoxide emission throughout parts of IC 2118, an indicator of the presence of molecular clouds and star formation in the nebula. In fact candidates for pre-main sequence stars and some classic T-Tauri stars have been found deep within the nebula.The molecular clouds of IC 2118 are probably juxtaposed to the outer boundaries of the vast Orion-Eridanus bubble, a giant supershell of molecular hydrogen blown by the high mass stars of the Orion OB1 association. As the supershell expands into the interstellar medium, favorable circumstances for star formation occur. IC 2118 is located in one such area. The wind blown appearance and cometary shape of the bright reflection nebula is highly suggestive of a strong association with the high mass luminous stars of Orion OB1. The fact that the heads of the cometary clouds of IC2118 point northeast towards the association is strong support of that relationship.
 
Supplementary Data or Comments

Taken at twilight at the Black Forest Star Party. Only 4 usable subs.


Main Image Information

Location Cherry Springs State Park
Date Sept 27 2019
Optics AstroTech AT65EDQ
Filters None
Mount Celestron CGE
Camera Nikon D810A
ISO 1600
Subexposures 4
Exposure Length 300 seconds
Guider Orion SSAG
 

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All images copyright © 2006-2021, Rick Saunders
Main text descriptions sourced from Wikipaedia.
Sky position information is based on IP geolocation and is therefore approximate.