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Click here for a cropped close up of M42 (433 Kb)



The Details
The Horsehead Nebula and M 42 in Orion
Takahashi FSQ-106 @ f/5
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Tru-Balance 6nm Hydrogen Alpha filter
06 and 07 January 2009
Mount Wilson Observatory - Mount Wilson, CA
Ha 2 x 14 x 1200 sec, 1x1 bin (see Notes below)
Maxim DL/CCD, Registar, Photoshop CS4
Field of View: 04°49’ x 03°27’ centered on RA 05h37m54s
DEC -03°44’44” (2000.0) . North angle 270.3°; east 90° CCW from north

This area of Orion is one of the most beautiful and interesting portions of the sky to photograph, having been imaged countless times by both amateurs and professionals alike. The Horsehead and Flame nebulae as well as the Great Nebula in Orion are themselves objects of incredible intricacy in both their bright central regions and faint outlying areas. The subtle yet obvious clouds of gas and dust filling the intervening space between these well known objects is itself a study in delicate transitions that is often overlooked on photographs of this area.

To capture the full dynamic range of M42 it was necessary to take, in addition to long exposures needed to reveal the faint areas of the nebula, a series of short exposures of varying lengths to correctly expose the bright core region. These different exposures were then layered and blended together in Photoshop to reveal the full extent of detail hidden in the nebula. For the above shot a total of eight (8) each core exposures of 3.0 and 20 seconds were taken and layered with the 1200 second exposures.

This mosaic was produced using Adobe Photoshop CS4. The two frames of the mosaic were shot with approximately a 10% overlap and then automatically stitched together and blended using the Photomerge feature of that software.




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