M78 = NGC2068 (5h 46.7m +003, 8 mag. )

This reflection nebula in Orion was discovered by Mechain in 1780 and Messier observed it on December 17, 1780. This is the only reflection nebula on Messier list, not counting M20 which is dominated by an emission region. M78 is located about 1,600 ly away and measures 2 - 3 ly across. It is surrounded by dust lanes and faint reflection nebulae listed in NGC catalogue - NGC2067 is visible here in the lower right corner. M78 can be noticed in binoculars about 230' NE of z Orioni (see finder chart below).

The above image was taken on December 14, 1998 from Sooke, BC. Cookbook 245 LDC CCD camera was used on Ultima 8 f6.3 telescope autoguided with Cookbook 211 LDC CCD on piggybacked 500mm f8 telephoto lens. It is composed of white exposures (8 x 240 sec.) as well as cyan, magenta and yellow-filtered integrations (4 x 240 sec. each) integrations processed with AIP4WIN. Color image was then adjusted in Lab color space using Corel PhotoPaint 8.

North is to the right.

Map created in Guide 7.0 - 745' x 745'. North is up.

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Jan Wisniewski