M 78 is the blue area in the center of this image, and it is the brightest
reflection nebula in the sky. The blue color is caused by clouds of
interstellar dust and gas reflecting the light of the stars within them.
In this wide image, you can see the rivers of dust reaching out in all
directions from M 78. To the upper right, the dust stretches to the very edges
of the Flame Nebula. Across the left side of the image is a small part of
the red ribbon known as Barnard's loop, a huge arc that stretches nearly
halfway around the constellation Orion. This area of gas has been caused
to glow by the radiation of very energetic stars.
Camera: Canon 350 XT (modified)
Exposure: ISO 800, 5 minutes x 45
Telescope: William Optics 66mm Zenithstar, 0.8x field flattener