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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT
M78 NGC2068
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M78, NGC2068

February 22, 2005
M78, NGC2068

M78 is part of the Orion complex, a large region of star-forming gas and dust centred around M42 and M43. It is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula in the sky, and fairly easy to see with binoculars (and almost visible to the naked eye, claim some observers). M78 is some 1600 light-years away and around 4 light-years across. Other parts of this giant molecular cloud have their own labels: NGC2071 to the northeast (upper left), NGC2067 in close to the northwest (upper right) and NGC2064 (faint, southwest, lower right), as well as other pieces not in this picture. The present picture is a color composite mosaic of CCD images from the 0.9-meter telescope of the Kitt Peak National Observatory, near Tucson, Arizona, taken in November 1998. Image size 22.1x28.3 arc minutes.