M42 – The Orion Nebula

The orion nebula is a diffuse nebula just south of Orion’s belt hidden in the three stars that represent his sword. The middle star of the sword is a whole lot more than the single star you see with your unaided eye, it actually consists of many stars being born within the nebula. The orion nebula is the closest massive star forming region to Earth. M42 is estimated to be 24 light years across and estimated to be roughly 1344 light years to Earth. This nebula is one of the most studied nebula for astronomers who have directly observed protoplanetary disks, brown dwarfs, turbulent motions of gas, and photo-ionizing effects of large nearby stars to the nebula. This nebula being so large can be seen with the unaided eye from non light polluted skies and given it’s large size wasn’t technically discovered by Charles Messier, but he included it in his list of objects as M42.

X Marks the spot of M42

X Marks the spot of M42

This nebula has many faint regions, but the section containing the trapezium is definitely visible through my 6” scope with a 30mm eyepiece. The trapezium is visible with it, but takes a strong power to split them nicely, I find the 4mm to do a pretty good job at it.

M42 02-09-13

This image is constructed of 41 light frames, 20 at 30 seconds, and 21 at 60 seconds both shot with an ISO of 400. Also included is 30 dark frames, 25 flat frames, and 34 bias frames. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post processing done in Photoshop.

Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Polar Scope for alignment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *