The Great Nebula in Orion (M42) and NGC 1977 (Running Man
All Images Copyright Steve
or on image for a higher resolution vertical view (693 x 1375).
for the highest resolution vertical view (990 x 1964).
for a higher resolution horizontal view (1375 x 693).
for the highest resolution horizontal view (1964 x 990).
Size: about 1.5 degrees (for the final mosaic)
Distance: 1600 light years
RA: 5h 35m
Dec: minus 5 degrees 35' 54"
This is my latest image of the M42 complex, representing a two frame
mosaic and about 6.5 hours of exposure time. The Great Orion
Nebula is the brightest nebula visible to the naked
eye, forming the middle part of the Hunter's sword in the famous
It is a breathtaking view in even small telescopes, where
tendrils of gas can be appreciated even without the aid of special
filters. The use of a UHC filter improves contrast significantly
and reveals a
significant amount of faint nebulosity during visual observation.
The typical visual view in a telescope is pale white to faint
green, due to the human eye's poor color response to low light
in the red, which is emitted by this nebula due to excitation of
gas as a result of radiation from newly formed stars). In this
The Great Orion Nebula (M42) is on the right, de Mairan's Nebula (M43)
is just below center, and the Running Man Nebula (NGC 1977) is on the
left, a beautiful
nebula that derives its blue color from reflected light of nearby
stars. Please be sure to check out the links under the photo for
higher resolution views.
15 and December 17, 2004.
Sky 90 at f4.5 with field flattener/focal
reducer, on a Losmandy G11 mount.
(13nm bandpass), L, R, G, B type II filter set, all from Astronomik.
unbinned): December 15 (the right hand side of the mosaic):
22 x 4' luminance; 20 x 30" luminance; 6 x 4' each R, G, B; 20 x 30"
each R, G, B; 6 x 5' Ha; 20 x 30" Ha. December 17 (the left
hand side of the mosaic): 20
x 4' luminance; 6 x 4' each R and G, 8 x 4' B. Total exposure
time about 6.5 hours.
Conditions: In a
word- glorious (except for the temperature,
which was 18-20 degrees F on both nights). I've never had
transparency and seeing conditions like this. No clouds. No
wind. After the moon set,
the sky was inky black,
and the stars hardly twinkled....
LHa:(LHa:R:G:B)- please see below for details. No darks, flats,
frames required. Alignment,
combining (min/max excluded averaging), and DDP done
in ImagesPlus. Levels,
layer mask adjustments in Photoshop. Processing this image
required several techniques, which were straightforward but time
consuming. These included: 1) Making layer masks using the
shorter 20 x
30" luminance, RGB, and Ha exposures for the Trapezium region.
The 30" Ha exposures were needed to provide good definition of the
Trapezium itself; 2) Sharpening using a combination of high pass
(radius of only 2 pixels, using Overlay mode in PS) and unsharp masking
(amount 80% and radius
1.5) applied selectively to certain regions. The image was quite
smooth and permitted sharpening without introducing too much
noise; 3) The luminance channel was comprised of L plus Ha,
restricting the Ha contribution to about 50% opacity. This LHa
luminance component was combined with the RGB in Photoshop as a
standard luminosity layer (i.e., I did not use the technique of Luminance
Correction for this image, since there was reasonably good
matching between luminance signal and color). After boosting the
color saturation of the RGB component, a mild guassian blur was applied to the color layer, the image was flattened (now representing an
LHa:R:G:B layer), and it was then used as color for another LHa
luminance channel (this is a modification of a
developed by Rob Gendler). Thus, the final image is LHa:(LHa:R:G:B), which resulted in good
preservation of detail and color; 4) Registration of the two frames was done in Registar,
note: Graphics on this website may not be reproduced without
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