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Rising from a sea of dust and gas like a giant seahorse, the Horsehead nebula is one of the most photographed objects in the sky. NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope took a close-up look at this heavenly icon, revealing the cloud's intricate structure.

The Horsehead, also known as Barnard 33, is a cold, dark cloud of gas and dust, silhouetted against the bright nebula, IC 434. The bright area at the top left edge is a young star still embedded in its nursery of gas and dust. But radiation from this hot star is eroding the stellar nursery. The top of the nebula also is being sculpted by radiation from a massive star located out of Hubble's field of view.

Date 24 April 2001
Author NASA, NOAO, ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA


Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA and ESA. NASA Hubble material (and ESA Hubble material prior to 2009) is copyright-free and may be freely used as in the public domain without fee, on the condition that only NASA, STScI, and/or ESA is credited as the source of the material. This license does not apply if ESA material created after 2008 or source material from other organizations is in use.
The material was created for NASA by Space Telescope Science Institute under Contract NAS5-26555, or for ESA by the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre. Copyright statement at or 2008 copyright statement at
For material created by the European Space Agency on the site since 2009, use the {{ ESA-Hubble}} tag.
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