> News story > Discussion questions > Answer 1

Question 1:
Study the visible- and infrared-light images of the Horsehead Nebula. Compare the features in each picture.

The features seen in the visible-light image consist of a dark, cloudy region across the bottom of the picture; a horsehead-shaped feature rising in the center; a bright blue-green area at lower left; glowing reddish-pink gas just above the dark cloud; and a large, bright star near the top. More stars also are visible in the image's upper region than in the dark, lower area.

The infrared image reveals a softly glowing structure with gas and dust swirling around a rust-colored opaque region. The dark sky above the nebula is dotted with many stars. Two recently formed stars are peeking out of the rusty cloud near the top of the horse's head. A blue glow silhouettes the top of the horse, a sign that Sigma Orionis continues to rain down its high-energy light. Many background stars are visible through the cloud of dust that is the Horsehead Nebula.

<< Back to discussion questions