M42 - The Orion Nebula

My Latest Astrophoto: The Orion Nebula (M42)

It seems to be somewhat rare these days that I get to spend evenings out in my observatory shooting cool objects in the night sky.  Between the chaos that is my life and less than ideal weather conditions, I recently got the first night out in the observatory in months.  Last week I posted one image that I shot from that night of the Crab Nebula (linked below) and now as promised I bring you my shot of the Orion Nebula.

For those unfamiliar with the Orion Nebula, it is a diffuse nebula located in the Milky Way, just south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion.  Often referred to by its designation, Messier 42 or M42, it is a very photogenic nebula that is so bright it can be seen by the naked eye (although not with this much detail), even in places of considerable light pollution.  It is ~1,344 light-years away and about 24 light-years across.  The Orion Nebula is a stellar nursery that is constantly creating new stars with all of the gas and dust.  There are approximately 700 stars in various stages of formation in the nebula.

As for the details of my particular image, I took 24 images at 45 second exposures and stacked them for a total exposure time of 18 minutes.  I normally like to get a lot more exposure time on things I shoot but its so bright I really didn’t need it and my telescope went wonky after the 24th image so I had to give up on it for the night.  For those interested in the telescope setup I used to shoot this image of the Orion Nebula, I would refer you to my astrophotography equipment post which details all of my equipment and which I keep updated as I make changes.

Oh, if you didn’t see the shot of the Crab Nebula, I suggest you head over to my Crab Nebula post from last week.

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