The Great Horsehead Nebula and its neglected neighbour

Kfir Simon of Israel captured this stunning view of the Horsehead Nebula from the Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm in Namibia using a 16-inch Hypergraph F8 telescope and an FLI Proline PL16803 camera. The photo also highlights NGC 2023, an often-overlooked nebula discovered in 1785 by William Herschel. Some four light years across, it is one of the largest reflection nebulae ever discovered. NASA describes NGC 2023 as “a beautiful star forming emission and reflection nebula … a mere 1500 light-years distant.”

This image is one of those shortlisted in this year’s Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Winners from the 2018 competition will be announced on 23 October at a special awards ceremony.

The Horsehead Nebula and NGC 2023. Image: Kfir Simon