M78 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula in the sky, situated in the rich constellation Orion. It is part of the Orion Complex, a huge cloud of hydrogen gas and dust about 1500 to 1600 light years from Earth. This nebula is a reflection cloud, being illuminated from at least 2 nearby bright blue stars of spectral type B, and as such, looks blue on photographs. M78 is about 4 light years in diameter and is host to a number of low-mass stars which are likely very young. Also, a number of jets of matter have been found in this area, known as Herbig-Haro objects, believed to be outflow from young stars that have just been born.

Image taken March 12, 2012, with the C-14 operating at F:3.5 and the ST-8 binned 2 X 2. Exposure is 5 minutes.
This image at higher magnification, shows some of the embedded stars in the nebula. 10 minute exposure through each color filter, taken in March, 2009.