Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula

Dark Nebula Barnard 33 in Orion

The Horsehead Nebula

[B33 Horsehead, AAT]
Right Ascension 05 : 40.9 (h:m)
Declination -02 : 28 (deg:m)
Distance 1.6 (kly)
Apparent Dimension 6x4 (arc min)

E. Pickering detected IC 434 photographically in 1889, the Horsehead can be detected on a photo made on January 25, 1900 by Isaac Roberts (Roberts 1902). E.E. Barnard recognized the object in the 1910s.

The first published description of the Horsehead Nebula was given in Barnard (1913), and it was first cataloged by Barnard (1919).

The remarkable Horsehead is a dark globule of dust and non-luminous gas, obscuring the light coming from behind, especially the moderately bright nebula IC 434. It is the most remarkable feature of an interesting region of diffuse nebulae, which belongs to a huge cloud of gas and dust situated 1,600 light years away in the direction of constellation Orion. The bright reflection nebula in the lower left is NGC 2023.

The image in this page was obtained by David Malin with the Anglo-Australian Telescope. This image is copyrighted and may be used for private purpose only. For any other kind of use, including internet mirroring and storing on CD-ROM, please contact the Photo Permissions Department (photo at of the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

  • More information on this image (David Malin)

  • Hubble Space Telescope Observes the Horsehead Nebula (April 2001)
  • Bill Arnett's Horsehead Nebula photo page and info page.

  • SIMBAD Data of the Horsehead Nebula B33
  • Publications on the Horsehead Nebula B33 (NASA ADS)
  • Observing Reports for Barnard 33 - The Horsehead Nebula (IAAC Netastrocatalog)


    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: June 4, 1998