Orion Mosaic



This three-frame mosaic image of the central region of Orion contains many well-known (and photographed) deep sky objects. They are all part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. It lies a mere 1500 light years from us. The most prominent nebula at the upper right in the frame is the Great Orion Nebula (consisting of M42 and M43 of the Messier catalog). It is easily visible with the naked eye as a fuzzy patch at the center of Orion's sword. This nebula is often studied due to its star-forming activity. It is considered an emission nebula as most of its visible light is due to energy emitted by ionized hydrogen. To the immediate left of the Orion Nebula is NGC 1973/1975/1977, known as the Running Man Nebula. It is primarily a reflection nebula. Reflection nebulae typically appear to have a bluish hue due to the scattered light of newly formed stars. At the far lower left of the frame is NGC 2024 - the Flame Nebula. This is another star-forming region. The dark nebula to the right of the Flame Nebula is Barnard 33, commonly known as the Horsehead Nebula. A dark nebula is dust that is only visible because it blocks background light. The brightest star near the nebula is Alnitak, the easternmost star in Orion's belt.

Telescope: William Optics Star71 (piggybacked on C11)

Modified Canon 650D (Raw capture, ISO 800)


iOptron CEM60

Guider: SSAG on Stellarvue 50mm scope
18 @ 5 min. for each of three panels
Processing: Images were focused using a Bahtinov mask with the camera's live view and converted in Canon Digital Professional software. They were aligned and combined in ImagsPlus. The three frames were aligned in Registar and the mosiac was constructed and adjusted in Photoshop.
Location: My backyard in SE Minnesota. Shot on 2/21/15, 2/22/15, and 3/6/15. Temperature was near 0 F on first two days.

Click here for a higher resolution image.

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