M78 (NGC 2068) in Orion

The neb­ula Messi­er 78 (also known as M78 or NGC 2068) is a reflec­tion neb­ula in the con­stel­la­tion Ori­on. It was dis­covered by Pierre Méchain in 1780 and included by Charles Messi­er in his cata­log of comet-like objects that same year.

M78 is the bright­est dif­fuse reflec­tion neb­ula of a group of neb­u­lae that include NGC 2064, NGC 2067 and NGC 2071. This group belongs to the Ori­on Molecu­lar Cloud Com­plex and is about 1,600 light years dis­tant from Earth. M78 is eas­ily found in small tele­scopes as a hazy patch and involves two stars of 10th mag­nitude. These two stars, HD 38563A and HD 38563B, are respons­ible for mak­ing the cloud of dust in M78 vis­ible by reflect­ing their light.

About 45 vari­able stars of the T Tauri type, young stars still in the pro­cess of form­a­tion as well as some 17 Herb­ig-Haro objects are known in M78.

[descrip­tion from wikipedia]


RCOS 14.5″ f/​8
Apo­gee U16M
Astro­don Gen2
LRGB 400:200:180:160 min.
ROSA Remote Obser­vat­or­ies South­ern Alps
© Mar­tin Ruster­holz, Astrophotographer

Find­er Chart M78 (NGC 2068) in Orion

M78 Sky Chart - Astrophotography Martin Rusterholz

Image cre­ated by Skychart

About Me

Hello, my name is Martin Rusterholz. I’m a Swiss amateur astrophotographer living near Zurich, the biggest town in Switzerland. My interest in astronomy started when I was 16. At that time, I built my first Newtonian telescope and mount. I studied physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) which was the only study including at least some aspects of astronomy and astrophysics. “Looking at the nights sky is an experience touching everybody deeply inside, something common to all human beings independent to the language spoken by the individuals”. Deep-sky astrophotography is my passion.