The Running Man Nebula – NGC 1977 or Sh2-279 – is a reflection nebula that can be found in the Orion constellation, 1,460 lightyears away.
It’s located along the sword of Orion, north of the Orion Nebula, and is known as the Running Man Nebula because many observers think it bears a resemblance to a human figure running with its arms in motion.
It was discovered by William Herschel in 1786, and its proximity to the Orion Nebula means the two are often photographed alongside one another.
The Running Man Nebula is actually composed of three nebulae: NGC 1973, NGC 1975, and NGC 1977.
The Orion Nebula (right) and the Running Man Nebula (left) by Gerard Tartalo Montardit, Lleida, Spain. Equipment: Canon eos 600D modified and cooled, Skywatcher newton 150/750 pds, Skywatcher neq6 pro2, Guiding with phd2, zwo asi 290mc on celestron newton 130/650.
NGC 1977 is also known as the Ghost Nebula, which is perhaps a better fit. The nebula looks like a classic cartoon ghost, with its pointed head and wavy arms and legs, as though it’s a cosmic spectre floating through space.
Below is a selection of images of the Running Man Nebula captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers from around the world.
For advice on photographing nebulae, read our guide to deep-sky astrophotography or our pick of the best astrophotography cameras.
And don’t forget to send us your images or share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Running Man Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Canon EOS 1100d camera self-modified, Astronomik CLS clip filter, Celestron C11 sct and Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount.
NGC1977 Running Man Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: GSO 8″ Richey-Chretien Optical tube,0.67 focal reducer,Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
Running Man Nebula by Lee Housden, Essex, UK. Equipment: Pier Mounted CPC 8″, EQ Wedge, Skywatcher ED 80mm Apo, QHY10 CCD, Focal Reducer, Light Pollution Filter, QHY5, PhD
NGC1977 Running Man Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters. F6.3 focal reducer.
NGC 1977 by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M, Astro-Tech AT12RCT
Running Man Nebula by John Tonks, Pembrokeshire, UK. Equipment: 180mm Maksutov, ZWO 1600mm camera.
NGC1977 – The Running Man Nebula by Keith Bramley, Pilling, Preston, UK. Equipment: 383L+ Mono, 190MN, EQ6, Baader Filters
Running Man Nebula by Álvaro Ibáñez Pérez, Las Inviernas, Guadalajara, Spain. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ106EDX, Takahashi EM400 Temma2, CCD Atik 460EX mono, Astrodon LRGB, IDAS LPS P2, SX USB Filter Wheel, Lunático EZG-60, SXLodestar, RoboFocus, AstroMatic(ftorrev).