Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Deep Sky Object Image Gallery

Nebulae represent clouds of gas and dust which appear as hazy or fuzzy objects when viewed through a telescope and are characterized as one of four types (emission, planetary, reflection or dark). Emission nebulae, such as the Lagoon nebula (M8), simply glow, for example, with a stunning shade of red. Planetary nebulae appear as small greenish disks through a telescope, thus emulating the planets Uranus and Neptune, as a result of gas masses being thrown off by dying stars (ex. M27, Dumbbell nebula) or represent supernova remnants (ex. M1, Crab nebula). In contrast, reflection nebulae are characterized with gas surrounding young stars which reflect the stellar light (ex. M45, Pleiades) and, thus, yield beautiful images of nebulosity. Finally, dark nebulae are detectable and studied only using parts other than the visible spectrum and are believed to be associated with the formation of stars (ex. M16 in Serpens).

Note: NGC 1977 is one of the most-recognized highlights in the constellation of Orion. Although classified as an open cluster embedded within nebulosity, this area just north of the Orion Nebula is generally recognized as the Running Man Nebula owing to the emission nebulosity at the center which is in the formation of a running man. The cluster is approximately 1,500 light-years away and spans approximately 20' in diameter. It is dominated by a number of bright stars ranging from mag 4 to mag 6 and whose light reflects off gas in the immediate vicinity and thus leading to reflection nebulosity. At the same time, ionization of hydrogen gas leads to areas of emission nebulosity and as indicated by the red regions in the image below. Two other reflection nebulae sitting on the shoulders of the humanoid figure have classifications within the NGC catalog, namely NGC 1975 to the east and NGC 1973 to the west. Also, an area of protostar formation to the south is known as Herbig-Haro 45.

Please click on the image below to display in higher resolution (1200 x 900)

Image Details
NGC 1977 - Running Man Nebula in Orion
Imaging Details
NGC Number:

Common Name(s):
Running Man Neb

Other Designations:
Sh 2-279

Object Type:
Bright Nebula

Object Classif:


RA / Dec:
05h 35m 20s /
-04 48' 03"

1,500 light-yrs

Object Size:
40' x 25'


Nov 26-27, 2009
23:25 - 02:55 UT+2

Athens, Greece

AP 160 f/7.5 StarFire EDF
Baader 7nm H-
SBIG LRGB + IR-block

Lum (H-) :  080 min (04 x 20 min)
Lum  020 min (20 x 01 min)
Red :  030 min (05 x 06 min)
Green :  030 min (05 x 06 min)
Blue :  030 min (05 x 06 min)
Binning :  1x1 (L),  1x1 (RGB)

Image Scale:
1.17" per pixel

Ambient : + 10.0 C
CCD Chip : - 25.0 C

CCDSoft V5.00.188
CCDStack V1.6.0.5
Photoshop CS2