|H II region|
|Observation data: J2000 epoch|
|Right ascension||05h 27.5m|
|Distance||either 518 or 1434 ly|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||5|
|Apparent dimensions (V)||10°|
|Radius||either 50 or 150 ly|
Barnard's Loop (catalogue designation Sh 2-276) is an emission nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex which also contains the dark Horsehead and bright Orion nebulae. The loop takes the form of a large arc centered approximately on the Orion Nebula. The stars within the Orion Nebula are believed to be responsible for ionizing the loop.
The loop extends over about 600 arcminutes as seen from Earth, covering much of Orion. It is well seen in long-exposure photographs, although observers under very dark skies may be able to see it with the naked eye.
Recent estimates place it at a distance of either 159 pc (518 light years) or 440 pc (1434 ly) giving it dimensions of either about 100 or 300 ly across respectively. It is thought to have originated in a supernova explosion about 2 million years ago, which may have also created several known runaway stars, including AE Aurigae, Mu Columbae and 53 Arietis, which are believed to have been part of a multiple star system in which one component exploded as a supernova.
Above photo of Barnard's Loop nebula in inverted black and white of the red channel
Long exposure of Orion with red clouds of ionized hydrogen (H-alpha). The big bow on the left is Barnard's Loop.
Barnard's Loop seen against the major stars and nebula of Orion
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barnard's Loop.|