Orion Nebula, M42
Copyright © 2011
M42, NGC 1976, the Orion Nebula in the sword area of the constellation Orion
The Nebula is part of a much larger nebula that is known as the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The Orion Molecular Cloud Complex extends throughout the constellation of Orion and includes Barnard's Loop, the Horsehead Nebula, M43, M78 and the Flame Nebula. Stars are forming throughout the Orion Nebula. The nebula is visible with the naked eye even from areas affected by some light pollution. It is seen as the middle "star" in the sword of Orion, which are the three stars located south of Orion's Belt. The star appears fuzzy to sharp-eyed observers, and the nebulosity is obvious through binoculars or a small telescope. The Orion Nebula contains a very young open cluster, known as the Trapezium due to the asterism of its primary four stars. Two of these can be resolved into their component binary systems on nights with good seeing, giving a total of six stars. The stars of the Trapezium, along with many other stars, are still in their early years.
Distance: 1300 - 1600 light years
Size: 24 - 30 light years across
Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Telescope: Astrophysics Starfire 140 EDT F7.5
Mount: Astro-Physics Mach1 GTO with Advanced Telescope Systems portable pier
Images: 22 subexposures of 30 seconds each with 4 luminance, 10 red, 4 green, and 4 blue (total of 11
minutes); 20 subexposures of 60 seconds each with 4 luminance, 8 red, 4 green, and 4 blue
(total of 20 minutes); 21 subexposures of 5 minutes each with 6 luminance, 7 red, 4 green,
and 4 blue (105 minutes); and 24 subexposures of 10 minutes with 6 luminance, 16 red,
8 green, and 4 blue (240 minutes) for a grand total of 6 hours and 16 minutes.
Date: November 2009
Software: Camera, mount, and guider control - CCD Commander & MaximDL, calibration and stacking - CCDStack, further processing in Photoshop CS4.