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Here's the home of 2021's 'Image of the Month' pictures. Enjoy!

2021 : 2020 2019 : 2018 : 2017 : 2016 : 2015

Image of the Month for January 2021: The Horsehead and Flame Nebulas

The Horsehead and Flame Nebulas, imaged in narrowband

The Horsehead Nebula or Barnard 33 is a small dark nebula, whose fame arises from two things - fortuitously lying in front of a 'curtain' of ionised hydrogen gas and a remarkable resemblance to a horse's head. This image also shows the bright double star Alnitak (note the smaller companion star just left of the main star), and the bright Flame nebula (NGC 2024 or Sh2-277). Again the Flame nebula is the result of bright hydrogen behind a dark dust cloud. Smaller areas of blue reflection nebula where the dusty nebulas scatter starlight are also visible in the image. This image is a composite of three monochrome images filtered  for the light of hydrogen alpha, sulphur ii and oxygen iii mapped in that order as red, green blue and then colour balanced.

Compare this image to the images for the month for December 2019, taken using a tri-band filter and colour camera or that for January 2016, taken with a colour camera and no filter.