Horsehead Nebula

Horsehead Nebula

noun
a dark nebula in the constellation Orion, composed of opaque cosmic dust and resembling the head of a horse.
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Horsehead nebula (ˈhɔːsˌhɛd)
 
n
astronomy a dark nebula lying in the constellation of Orion and resembling the head of a horse

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horsehead nebula

(catalog number IC 434), ionized-hydrogen region in the constellation Orion. The nebula consists of a cloud of ionized gas lit from within by young, hot stars; a dark cloud containing interstellar dust lies immediately in front. The dust absorbs the light from part of the ionized cloud. A portion of this dark cloud has a shape somewhat resembling a horse's head. The nebula is located 400 parsecs (1,300 light-years) from the Sun. It has a diameter of approximately 4 parsecs (13 light-years) and a total mass of about 250 solar masses

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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