Waid Observatory

Object: M78 - Reflection Nebula in Orion

Date: Jan. 18, 2021    -    Location: Davis Mountains, TX
Telescope: TeleVue Genesis   Camera: ST-8300M   Filters: Astrodon LRGB
Exposure: L = 240 min. Bin 1x1  R G & B = 60 min. each Bin 2x2
Click on the image below to view at higher resolution.




M78 1

M78 is a reflection nebula discovered by Pierre Mechain in early 1780.  Charles Messier added it to his catalog on December 17, 1780.  It resides in, and is surrounged by, the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.  This large cloud of gas and dust emcompassing the constellation Orion, is about 1,600 light years distant.  Reflection nebulae, such as M78, shine in the reflected and scattered light of bright blue (early B-type) stars.  This gives the nebula its characteristic blue color and is essentially the same phenomena that produces the blue color of our sky.


Copyright Donald P. Waid