Barnard’s Loop, an emission nebula in Orion

 
Barnard's Loop, an emission nebula in Orion

Barnard’s Loop (Sh 2-276) is an emission nebula of some 300 light-years across, located about 1600 light-years away in the constellation of Orion. It is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex which also contains the bright Horsehead and Orion nebulae.

The Loop takes the form of a large arc that envelopes a large part of the Orion Complex and surrounds both Orion’s Belt and Orion’s Sword. A group of hot young stars within the Orion Nebula is believed to be responsible for luminating the loop. As seen from Earth, Barnard’s Loop is covering much of Orion.

This image with a combination of white light and hydrogen alpha light is bringing out the color and detail of Barnard’s Loop. The Orion Nebula (M42) and the Horsehead nebula (Barnard 33) can be seen as well.

Image Credit: Hunter Wilson

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