M78 Blue Reflection Nebula Complex & NGC-2071(bottom) & McNeil's Nebula (near top)
M78 is one of the Brightest of the Diffuse Reflection Nebula in the sky, an easy object in Binoculars.
M78 can be found about 2 degrees north and 1.5 degrees East of Zeta Orionis or Alnitak, the Eastern most
Star in Orion's Belt.
These Dark Cocoons of Interstellar dust are the birth places of new Stars and Solar Systems.
All these nebulae are associated with the molecular cloud LDN 1630, B.T. Lynds. Catalogue of Dark Nebulae.
They are all part of the Greater Orion Nebula/Horse-head Nebula Complex in the Constellation of Orion and M78 is
located at a distance of 2300 light years away.
In and near the nebula M78 are approximately 50 low mass stars, many are T Tauri type irregular variables stars.
Stars of this type are main sequence stars and can vary in brightness by about 3 to 4 magnitudes. Many are F or G spectral type, and are similar to the our sun,
They can be 4 to 5 times brighter than their spectral type would suggest, and are associated with nebulosity.
Likely these are very young stars which are still in their formation process.
My photo of M78 is a 3 hour exposure taken with my Home-made 16" Fork Mounted Newtonian telescope & a QHY8
Color CCD Camera from my Observatories in Yellow Springs, Ohio on 11-09-2010