Flame Nebula

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NGC 2024
The hidden fires of the Flame Nebula.jpg
NGC 2024 image created from VISTA images taken through J, H and Ks filters in the near-infrared part of the spectrum.
Observation data: J2000.0 epoch
Type Emission
Right ascension 05h 41m 54s
Declination -1° 51′ 0.0"
Distance 900–1,500 light-years
Apparent magnitude (V) +2
Apparent dimensions (V) 30'x30'
Constellation Orion
Physical characteristics
Other designations NGC 2024 and Sharpless 277
See also: Diffuse nebula, Lists of nebulae

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), the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, 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. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula.

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Media related to Flame Nebula at Wikimedia Commons

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Coordinates: Sky map 05h 41m 54s, −01° 51′ 00″