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December’s deep sky: Photos of nebulae and more

Black and white image of the cloudy dust with a flame shape at left and horsehead at center.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, took this image on December 12, 2021. David wrote: “My most recent deep space image, the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) and the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024). Both are in Orion near the star Alnitak in Orion’s Belt. Barnard 33 is a small and diffuse dark nebula about 1,500 light-years from Earth. NGC 2024 is an emission nebula approximately 1,350 light-years from us. This is a mostly hydrogen alpha image I created from red channel data captured using an L-eNhance narrowband filter that selects for hydrogen alpha, hydrogen beta, and oxygen III wavelengths of light.” Thank you, David! See more of December’s deep sky below.

December deep sky photos

Enjoy these December deep sky photos of nebulae and galaxies taken by members of the EarthSky community.

The 2022 lunar calendars are here. Order yours before they’re gone!

Three white dots in an angled line at top with reddish and lavender gas clouds.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Ken Chan in Portola Valley, California, captured this image of the area around Orion’s Belt on December 1, 2021. Ken wrote: “Headed out on a clear, moonless night to celebrate Orion’s return to the night sky. This constellation is pretty easy to locate with the prominent Orion’s Belt marking the waist of the Hunter. This area is also rich in targets with the Flame Nebula, Horsehead Nebula, Running Man Nebula and Orion Nebula all within the frame.” Thank you, Ken!

Two Triangulum Galaxies

Bluish-white points of light arranged in a spiral with hazy arms.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Samir Patel took this image of M33 on December 4, 2021. Samir wrote: “This is my very first image of the Triangulum Galaxy taken from Hope, New Jersey, at our local astronomy club grounds (UACNJ). The image has a total integration of around 3.5 hours (72 x 3 minutes).” Thank you, Samir!
Lavender spiral galaxy with arms swirling counterclockwise.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, took this image of the Triangulum galaxy on December 5, 2021. David wrote: “The Triangulum galaxy (Messier 33) is a spiral galaxy located in the small triangle-shaped constellation Triangulum. This galaxy, which is about half the size of our Milky Way galaxy, is 2.73 million light-years from Earth.” Thank you, David!

Other December galaxies

An edge-on spiral galaxy with a dust lane on its rim.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Karthik Easvur in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India, took this image of the Sombrero Galaxy on December 11, 2021. Karthik wrote: “Sombrero Galaxy from my balcony. It is around 30 million light-years away from Earth. It’s known for its bright nucleus, dust lane across the central bulge and super massive black hole in its center. It’s called Sombrero due to the resemblance to Mexican hat. This galaxy lies between the borders of the Virgo and Corvus constellations. Whenever I photograph a galaxy, it reminds me of the fact that we are just a dust particle in this massive universe.” Thank you, Karthik!

Bottom line: Amazing astrophotographers in the EarthSky community shared their photos of December’s deep sky with us.

December 31, 2021
Today's Image

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