Categories: Astrophotos

Halloween Astrophoto: The Witch Head Nebula

Boo! Here’s a great shot of the Witch Head nebula, so named because it resembles the profile of a wicked witch. This nebula’s ‘official’ name is IC 2118, and it is just a cloud of interstellar gas and dust — nothing to be afraid of! The eerie shape is sculpted in part by radiation from the supergiant star Rigel, the brightest star of Orion. In fact, Rigel illuminates the nebula by reflecting off the dust grains, making it glow. Inside the nebula, young stars are being born.  This image was taken by a former NASA scientist/engineer Fred Herrmann of the Owl Mountain Observatory near Huntsville, Alabama — ftherrmann2012 on Flickr. You can see an infrared image of this same nebula taken by the WISE spacecraft.

You can see more great images on Universe Today’s Flickr group page (click here to access, or see the new “Photos” tab at the top of our page) and feel free join the group and upload any astronomical images you have taken.


Happy Halloween from all of us here at Universe Today!

The Witch Head nebula is estimated to be hundreds of light-years away in the constellation of Orion. This image was taken by the WISE spacecraft. Credit: NASA.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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