The Sword Region in Orion


Copyright 2005 Hap Griffin

This is the "Sword" region easily seen by naked eye below the "Belt" of Orion.  Visually, the center "star" of this region is seen as being a bit fuzzy.  Binoculars begin to hint at its true cloudy nature, but a telescope reveals it to be the tumultuous cocoon of active star birth that it is...the Great Nebula in Orion.  Known as M42 (M43 is the bright knot just to its left), this stunning object is 1500 light-years distant and about 30 light years across.

The left-most object in the Sword is the blue reflection nebula NGC 1977.  This object is also informally known as the "Running Man" Nebula because of the shape of the dark region in its center.  Click here for a close-up of this object.

Registar reports 3006 stars in this image.

Date/Location:    December 10, 2004     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 300D Digital SLR (modified) through Orion ED80 w/ Meade .63 Focal Reducer piggybacked on LX-200 
Focal Ratio:   Approx. f4.5
Guiding:    Auto through LX-200 w/ SBIG ST-237
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    53 deg. F 
Exposure: 56 minutes total @ ISO 800 (11 x 5 min exposures layered with 5 x 20 sec) calibrated with flat frame and Master Dark frame (median combine of 9 darks)
Filters:    Baader UV/IR Block
Processing:    Focused and captured with DSLRFocus.  RAW to TIFF conversion, frame calibrations, Digital Development, Adaptive Richardson-Lucy deconvolution, scaling and JPEG conversion with ImagesPlus.  Frame alignment with Registar.  Noise reduction with NeatImage.