Horsehead Nebula

NGC 2024: The Horsehead nebula in Orion

Object type: Dark Cloud Nebula
Distance from Earth: 1,100 light years
350 parsecs

The Horsehead nebula is a dark dust cloud which lies in front of the emission nebula IC434. The dust cloud is colliding with the emission nebula. Some astronomers theorize that this may be the first stage in the formation of stars. The Horsehead was used by American astronomers in 1918 as the first proof that dark nebulae are not simply devoid of stars.