IC2118 – The Witch Head Nebula


Bob Franke

Chino Valley, Arizona USA

scope: Takahashi FSQ-106ED
camera: SBIG STF-8300
filters: Baader LRGB
mount: Losmandy G11

IC 2118, also known as the Witch Head Nebula, is a faint reflection nebula in the constellation Eridanus, at a distance of about 900 light-years from Earth. The nearby bright star Rigel illuminates the nebula. Although Rigel is a blue star, IC 2118 gets much of its blue color because the gas and dust scatter blue light more so than red. This same effect makes our sky appear blue.

Observations, at radio wavelengths, show areas of carbon monoxide emission throughout parts of IC 2118. This indicates the presence of molecular clouds and star formation within the nebula.