Southern hemisphere people are definitely more privileged when you consider large and bright nebulae. All the Milky Way between Gemini to the south over the Orion Belt, Crux, Scorpius, Sagittarius, and only then we go to the feature reach star fields in Eagle and Swan, that are available to the northern hemisphere observers. These emission and reflection nebulae are sometimes so bright, that are easily available for both visual observations and imaging under the suburban sky. But of course, bright areas are usually only a small part of the molecular gas and dust complex, and long exposure photography at the dark site reveals much more.

This is somehow also the case in the well-known area in the constellation of Orion, which contains the M42 nebula complex, Horsehead, and Flame nebulae, up till the M78 reflection nebula. That field contains all kinds of molecular treasures – emission nebulae, reflection nebula, dark and bright nebulae, and also many of the combinations. And quite exciting images can be captured even under the medium quality sky. That was in that case.

The wide-field Orion image below contains a plethora of objects. I decided to capture 4 hours of exposure. I hoped to reveal some dark and dust nebulae, and under the moderate sky, it requires more data than at the really dark place.

Orion belt wide-field
Orion belt wide-field

The data for the image above was captured during two nights at the beginning of March 2021. It was also a testing session for travel setup that contains Samyang 135 telephoto lens, QHY247C camera (APS-C format), SW Adventurer mount, and Raspberry Pi 4 with Astroberry installed. Astroberry was responsible for collecting the data from the main camera and for the one-axis guiding of Adventurer (with additional 30mm aperture guide scope and ASI290MM camera). All elements worked just fine.

The image below is annotated with different objects in the captured field.

Orion belt wide-field
Orion belt wide-field annotated

Since that is a Milky Way region (obviously), so many stars are also present in the field of view. When we image with large-scale setups, then stars are not so disturbing. But for wide-field imaging dense star fields effectively obscure the nebulae behind. That is where star removal tools (like StarNet++ that I described some time ago) will come for help. The last image here is with stars removed. Here you can see all the faint clouds of dust and gases better revealed.

Orion belt wide-field
Orion belt wide-field with stars removed

Image technical data:

Date: 4-5 March, 2021
Location: Nieborowice, Poland
Telescope: Samyang 135 f/2.8
Corrector: none
Camera: QHY247C, gain 2000
Mount: SW Adventurer
Guiding: 30mm + ASI290M
Exposure: 120x2 minutes
Conditions: Bortle 6, transparency good