NGC 2024

Alt. Designations: NGC 2024
Object Type: emission nebula
Constellation: Orion
Distance: 1.5 kly
Right Ascension: 05h 41m 42.0s
Declination: -01° 51´ 24"
Visual Magnitude:
Apparent Dimension: 30.0´ X 30.0´
Best Month To View: Dec

The Flame Nebula, designated as NGC 2024 is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 1,500 light-years away. The bright star Alnitak (ζ Ori), the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula.