Flame Nebula

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NGC 2024
emission nebula
NASA-FlameNebula-NGC2024-20140507.jpg
The Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) - based on Chandra X-Ray and Spitzer Infrared images.
Observation data: J2000.0 epoch
Right ascension 05h 41m 54s
Declination −1° 51′ 0.0″
Distance 900–1,500 ly
Apparent magnitude (V) +2
Apparent dimensions (V) 30'x30'
Constellation Orion
Designations NGC 2024 and Sharpless 277
See also: 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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Coordinates: Sky map 05h 41m 54s, −01° 51′ 00″