M78 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula in the sky. It belongs to the Orion complex around the Orion Nebula M42/M43, and is about 1600 light years distant. It is the brightest portion of a vast dust cloud which includes NGC 2071 (northeast, lower right in our image), NGC 2067 (close northwest), and very faint NGC 2064 (southwest).
M78 shines in the reflected light of bright blue (early B-type) stars. In and near this nebula, 45 low mass stars with hydrogene emission lines, similar to the star T Tauri, were detected.
Visually it resembles a faint comet. The other nebulae in this field require a very dark sky and are much more difficult than M78.
|Right ascension||05 : 44.2 (hours : minutes)|
|Declination||+00 : 02 (degrees : minutes)|