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Deep-sky photos for March 2024: Editor’s picks

Deep-sky photos: Large, bright red swirls of gas with thin dark lanes and numerous background stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Abdul Thomas of Leeds, United Kingdom, captured the Rosette Nebula on March 11, 2024. Abdul wrote: “The Rosette Nebula is sometimes referred to as the Skull Nebula. It’s an emission nebula in the constellation Monoceros. The central open star cluster, NGC 2244, is mainly responsible for shaping the nebula.” Thank you, Abdul! See more of our editor’s picks from March’s deep-sky photos here.

Stunning deep-sky photos from our community

The EarthSky community has many talented astrophotographers who capture stunning images of the deep sky. So enjoy this gallery of some of the best deep-sky photos we received in March 2024. Do you have some of your own deep-sky images to share? You can submit them to us here. We love to see them!

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Deep-sky photos of diffuse nebulae

Large cloud of blue and red gas, with numerous background stars and faint stars immersed within.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Egidio Vergani of Italy processed the data of the Dolphin Head Nebula from a team project on a remote telescope in Chile on March 1, 2024. Egidio wrote: “The Dolphin Head Nebula (which really looks like its namesake) lies about 5,200 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. The massive star itself, a Wolf-Rayet star, is the bright one near the center of the nebula. Fast winds from this Wolf-Rayet star create the bubble-shaped nebula, as they sweep up slower moving material from an earlier phase of evolution. The wind-blown nebula has an age of about 70,000 years.” Thank you, Egidio!
Reddish heart-shaped nebulosity over a background of distant stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jeremy Likness captured the Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia on March 5, 2024. Jeremy wrote: “The forecast called for rain, but I remained optimistic and brought my ‘rig.’ We had clear skies, so I set up in the backyard of a home near the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. After four hours of imaging, I uncovered the ‘Heart of Redmond.'” Thank you, Jeremy!
Large, complex orange nebulosity with numerous background stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana of Virginia captured the Cone Nebula and the Fox Fur Nebula in the constellation Monoceros on March 1, 2024. Thank you, Mario!

More nebulae

Large nebulous patch with bright red swirls, dark lanes and numerous foreground stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mohamed Alaa in Baghdad, Iraq, captured the Monkey Head Nebula in Orion on March 21, 2024. Mohamed wrote: “NGC 2174 (Monkey Head Nebula) is an HII emission nebula located in the constellation Orion. It’s associated with the open star cluster NGC 2175. It’s about 6,400 light-years away from Earth.” Thank you, Mohamed!
Large, bright blue cloud of gas over a multitude of distant stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Buzz Jumaah in Auckland, New Zealand, captured the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius on March 18, 2024. Buzz wrote: “The Lagoon Nebula is 4,100 light-years away. It’s 1 of the only 2 star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the eye. You can see it as a distinct cloud-like patch with a definite core using binoculars. I captured it from my driveway through my telescope using sulphur, hydrogen-alpha and oxygen filters.” Thank you, Buzz!

The Orion Molecular Complex

Large swirls of bright purple nebulosity over a background of distant stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Randy Strauss in Papillion, Nebraska, captured the Orion Nebula on March 4, 2024. Randy wrote: “I used a patio umbrella to block the worst of an LED street light directly in front of my scope. I wasn’t sure how well it would work. I ended up with 336 good frames.” Thank you, Randy!
Bright red nebulosity bright over a background of thousands of distant stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Harshwardhan Pathak of India used a large remote telescope in Australia to capture Barnard’s Loop in Orion on March 5, 2024. Harshwardhan wrote: “Between darkness and light there is only a thin red line some say … but they apparently have never seen Barnard’s loop! The Boogeyman Nebula (see the left side) is a dark molecular cloud about 10 light-years across in size. On the other side of Barnard’s loop is another fascinating deep-sky object: Messier 78, where new stars are being being born. Open star cluster NGC 2112 appears at the very bottom of the image.” Amazing. Thank you, Harshwardhan!

Deep-sky photos of galaxies

Bright nebulosity with blue spirals, a yellow nucleus and numerous background stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana of Virginia used a large remote telescope to capture Messier 83 on March 8, 2024. Mario wrote: “Messier 83, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, in the constellation Hydra. This is a 1-hour total exposure of one of my favorite galaxies.” Thank you, Mario!
A pair of small, yellowish nebulous objects over a sparse background of stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Fred Holman in Contoocook, New Hampshire, captured galaxies Messier 81 and Messier 82 in Ursa Major on March 3, 2024. Thank you, Fred!

And a galaxy with a passing comet

A comet with a longish tail, a small white nebula, and thousands of foreground stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Steven Bellavia in Southold, New York, caught the Andromeda Galaxy with Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks on on March 11, 2024. Steven wrote: “The comet is 155 million miles (250 million km) from Earth and Andromeda 15 trillion miles (24 trillion km) distant. But they’re now sharing the same part of the sky.” Amazing shot. Thank you, Steven!

Bottom line: Enjoy this gallery of deep-sky photos for March 2024 from our EarthSky community. And if you have a great photo to share, send it in. We love to see them!

Share your recent Earth or sky photo at EarthSky Community Photos.

April 1, 2024
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