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IC 4592 (Blue Horsehead Nebula)


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IC 4592
Blue Horsehead Nebula (青い馬頭星雲)
Reflection Nebula (反射星雲)
Nb RN+


別名 (Other names)

LBN 1113, ESO 584-N6

星座 (Constellation)
さそり座 (Sco) (Scorpius)

距離 (Distance)
400光年 (400 light-years)

Blue Horsehead Nebula (IC 4592) is a reflection nebula located 400 light years from the Earth in the constellation Scorpius.

IC 4592 (Blue Horsehead Nebula) : Picture

IC 4592: The Blue Horsehead Reflection Nebula
IC 4592: The Blue Horsehead Reflection Nebula
(C) Scott Rosen
Do you see the horse's head? What you are seeing is not the famous Horsehead nebula toward Orion but rather a fainter nebula that only takes on a familiar form with deeper imaging. The main part of the above imaged molecular cloud complex is a reflection nebula cataloged as IC 4592. Reflection nebulas are actually made up of very fine dust that normally appears dark but can look quite blue when reflecting the light of energetic nearby stars. In this case, the source of much of the reflected light is a star at the eye of the horse. That star is part of Nu Scorpii, one of the brighter star systems toward the constellation of the Scorpion Scorpius. A second reflection nebula dubbed IC 4601 is visible surrounding two stars on the upper right of the image center.

IC 4592: A Blue Horsehead
IC 4592: A Blue Horsehead
(C) Rogelio Bernal Andreo
This complex of beautiful, dusty reflection nebulae lies in the constellation Scorpius along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Its overall outline suggests a horsehead in profile, though it covers a much larger region than the better known Horsehead Nebula of Orion. The star near the eye of the horse and the center of the 5 degree wide field, is embedded in blue reflection nebula IC 4592 over 400 light-years away. At that distance, the view spans nearly 40 light-years. The horse's gaze seems fixed on Beta Scorpii, also named Graffias, the bright star at the lower left. Toward the top right, near the horse's ear, is another striking bluish reflection nebula, IC 4601. The characteristic blue hue of reflection nebulae is caused by the tendency of interstellar dust to more strongly scatter blue starlight.

Rho Ophiuchi Wide Field
Rho Ophiuchi Wide Field
(C) Rogelio Bernal Andreo
The clouds surrounding the star system Rho Ophiuchi compose one of the closest star forming regions. Rho Ophiuchi itself is a binary star system visible in the light-colored region on the image right. The star system, located only 400 light years away, is distinguished by its colorful surroundings, which include a red emission nebula and numerous light and dark brown dust lanes. Near the upper right of the Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud system is the yellow star Antares, while a distant but coincidently-superposed globular cluster of stars, M4, is visible between Antares and the red emission nebula. Near the image bottom lies IC 4592, the Blue Horsehead nebula. The blue glow that surrounds the Blue Horsehead's eye -- and other stars around the image -- is a reflection nebula composed of fine dust. On the above image left is a geometrically angled reflection nebula cataloged as Sharpless 1. Here, the bright star near the dust vortex creates the light of surrounding reflection nebula. Although most of these features are visible through a small telescope pointed toward the constellations of Ophiuchus, Scorpius, and Sagittarius, the only way to see the intricate details of the dust swirls, as featured above, is to use a long exposure camera.

IC 4592 : Blue Horsehead Nebula IC 4592 : Blue Horsehead Nebula
IC 4592 : Blue Horsehead Nebula
(C) Scott Rosen
IC 4592 : Blue Horsehead Nebula
(C) Rogelio Bernal Andreo
IC 4592 : Blue Horsehead Nebula
IC 4592 : Blue Horsehead Nebula
(C) Rogelio Bernal Andreo
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