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January’s deep sky: Nebulae, clusters and more

H-shaped, bright blue cloud of gas in the deep sky, over a multitude of distant stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Stephanie McNaughton in Red Rock, Arizona, captured Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359) in Canis Major on January 22, 2023. Stephanie wrote: “One of my favorites! Thor’s Helmet. I know it isn’t as extravagant as, say, Orion, but it is so beautiful! As an aspiring female astrophotographer, I’m proud to be able to send you this image!” Thank you, Stephanie. Outstanding work! We’d love to see more from you in the future. See more of January’s deep sky below.

January photos of the deep sky

Enjoy these January deep-sky photos. See diffuse nebulae as well as star clusters (and a planet passing across). These images are all from members of the EarthSky community. Do you have a great photo to share? Submit it here.

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Diffuse nebulae

Magenta-colored, fan-shaped nebulosity over a background of distant stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Eric Thurber in Boise, Idaho, captured the Orion Nebula (Messier 42) on January 2, 2023. The image also features surrounding objects such as Messier 43 in the constellation Orion. Good work. Thank you, Eric!
Orange-colored nebulosity blanketing the field of view, with foreground stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jeremy Likness in Monroe, Washington, captured the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula (a section of the IC 1396 complex) in Cepheus on January 21, 2023. He wrote: “Last night I was able to follow the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula down to the horizon for 6 additional hours of data. My setup was a bit unorthodox: I had my Celestron Edge HD 9.25 guiding for my Svbony SV503 70ED that usually serves as my guide scope. They worked well with their roles reversed. Here is IC 1396 in a capture I call Elefante.” Thank you, Jeremy!
A background of distant stars with sparse, bright, bluish patches of nebulosity.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mohammed Abdallah captured the Orion molecular cloud complex on January 21, 2023. He wrote: “Orion, Running Man, Flame Nebulae and the stars of the Orion constellation. This is a simple image from a Bortle 8 sky as I live in Suez, an industrial city famous for the Suez Canal. The total integration time is one hour. I’m happy about the results as this is the first time I use this lens.” Thank you, Mohammed!

Star clusters

A multitude of blue background stars with two bright, reddish, star-like objects.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jeremy Likness in Monroe, Washington, captured Mars, the Hyades and Pleiades in Taurus on January 8, 2023. Jeremy wrote: “A winter triangle: the bright star Aldebaran, Mars and the Pleiades were bright and clear in the winter sky.” Thank you, Jeremy!
Two groupings of stars, one large and one small, with a multitude of background stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, captured 2 open star clusters in Gemini on January 12, 2023. David wrote: “I captured Messier 35 (on the left) and its neighbor, NGC 2158 (on the right), from my backyard before the clouds arrived. Messier 35 is a large open star cluster that is 2,970 light-years from Earth. It’s about 24 light-years in diameter and 110 million years old. NGC 2158 is a compact, metal-poor open star cluster that’s 11,000 light-years from us. It’s about 17 light-years in diameter and around 2 billion years old.” Excellent. Thank you, David!
Large area of blue nebulosity with bright stars immersed within.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Irwin Seidman captured the Pleiades star cluster on January 14, 2023. Irwin wrote: “This 1 hour and 21 minute integrated exposure was from the Fox Observatory on the Bruce Peninsula (Ontario, Canada). Located about 444 light-years from Earth, Messier 45 (aka the 7 Sisters) is an open star cluster in Taurus. A reflection nebula around hot blue luminous stars gives the Pleiades its somewhat eerie and spectacular glow.” Thank you, Irwin!

Bottom line: Enjoy these January photos of the deep sky, from nebulae to clusters, taken by members of the EarthSky community. Have a great photo of your own? Share it at EarthSky Community Photos.

January 28, 2023
Today's Image

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