NGC-2024 The Flame Nebula Complex, my Canadian friends call it the Maple Leaf Nebula in Orion. The bright star is Alnitak the eastern most star in Orion’s Belt, also known as Zeta Orionis which is also a double star.
The Flame Nebula, designated as NGC 2024 and Sh2-277, is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away.
The bright star Alnitak (ζ Ori), shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas , there is a larger mound of dark dust near the bottom with some nice features reaching up toward the Flame. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.
I processed this image to show the dark dusty details in the Flame Nebula Complex.
This Narrow band image consists of Hydrogen Alpha and OIII emission lines. HA & OIII mapped to a Bi-color image.
5 hours of exposure time total with a C6 Newt. Scope, Bisque MyT mount, & QHY183M cooled Cmos Camera, HA= 24 x300sec subs & OIII 36 x 300 sec subs, Bi-color captured on 02-02-2021 from my backyard in Dayton, Ohio.
Best Regards,
John Chumack