Lower's Nebula in Orion (Sh2-261)

Hydrogen Alpha Orion
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here or on image for a higher resolution view.

Magnitude:  ?
Size: FOV of this image is about 1 degree.
Distance: ?
RA: 6h 09m 6.1s
Dec: 15 degrees 51' 34"

Lower's Nebula is an interesting and infrequently imaged region of hydrogen alpha emission located in the upper portion of Orion, near the boundary between Orion and Gemini.  It is located south of NGC 2174 and can be seen as the relatively bright patch of nebulosity just above the middle of this widefield view of the Orion region, taken by Peter Erdman.  Although not labeled in StarryNight Pro, I have indicated its approximate position here.  On the higher magnification view, notice the bright patch at the base of this nebula.  On close inspection, this region is characterized by elephant trunk tendrils that are reminiscent of what might be seen in M16, and which are most likely the site of new star formation.   This region would be a great target for those with longer focal length scopes, although I was pleased with the amount of detail that I was able to capture, especially at the base.

Photographic Details:

Date:  February 23, 2005
Takahashi Sky 90 at f4.5 with field flattener/focal reducer, on the G11 Losmandy Mount.
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder.
Camera:  SXV-H9
Astronomik Ha filter (13 nm bandpass).
Exposures:  36 x 5' each, binned 1 x 1, 3 hours total.
Conditions:  Temperature 23 degrees F; average transparency; average seeing; intermittent mild breeze; strong moonlight.
No dark, bias, or flat frames used.  Auto aligned in MaximDL; Sigma combined using RC Sigma Reject plug in, followed by DDP in ImagesPlus (IP).  Subsequent levels and curves adjustments in Photoshop CS (16 bit format).  Final sharpening using a combination of high pass filtering followed by unsharp mask in PS.

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