Elusive Orion

Winter is slowly fading away (hopefully) and during this time Orion has been shining at the sky with its gems. Among the bright Orion’s stars there is also well known Orion Nebula. It is actually a part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, so belongs to the same cloud of gas and dust as Hydrogen Horse Head. Orion Nebula (M42) is one of the brightest nebulaes – it is visible with naked eye under dark sky, and larger instruments (with aperture 10 inches or more) can show traces of colours there. It is definitely not elusive due to its low brightness – but because of my painful way of creating the pictures below. The nebula is placed about 1300 light years away and is the closest to the Earth star formation region

2014-02-08-m42

In the nebula center there is small and tight open star cluster called Trapezium. The five brightest stars of the Trapezium are on the order of 15-30 solar masses and are responsible for much of the illumination of the nebula.

2014-02-08-m42-center

On this particular picture I spent several nights of exposures (ten if I remember correctly). The nights were foggy and ruined by the Moon or incoming clouds, and the sky polution was every time different, so eventually during color processing I almost went crazy. Next winter I am going to get far away from city lights to catch this nebula.

Clear skies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *