M42 - The Great Nebula in Orion


Copyright 2004 Hap Griffin

The magnificent Orion Nebula - one of the most photographed areas of the sky...and for good reason.  M42 is the brightest nebula available to us.  It is visible to the naked eye as the middle fuzzy "star" in Orion's Sword, and easily seen in some detail in binoculars.  At its bright core is a nest of star birth activity, which lights up the surrounding hydrogen cloud.  At the left is a nearly circular formation, known as M43, with a tangled web of dust obscuring parts of it.

M42 has proven to be a fertile area for astronomical research.  Recently, detailed photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed stars in various stages of formation, and even "Proplyds", or Protoplanetary Disks which verify the theories of planetary formation around young stars.   

M42 lies at a distance of 1600 light-years and is approximately 30 light-years across. 

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Date/Location:    March 19, 2004     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 10D Digital SLR through 10" Meade LX-200 
Focal Ratio:   f4 via Lumicon GEG focal reducer
Guiding:    Auto via Lumicon GEG w/ SBIG ST4
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    52 F
Exposure: 10 x 5 minutes, 4 x 15 second @ ISO 800
Filters:    None
Processing:    Focused and captured with DSLRFocus.  RAW to TIFF conversion, frame calibrations, alignment and stacking, layering of inner and outer sub-frames, Digital Development, Adaptive Richardson_Lucy deconvolution, scaling and JPEG conversion with ImagesPlus.  Noise reduction with NeatImage.