March 2017

The Great Nebula in Orion and the Running Man Nebula

M42 and NGC 1976

Image of the Month: The Great Nebula in Orion and the Running Man Nebula

Image copyright: Martin Heigan

The Orion Nebula (Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way Galaxy, south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. M42 is located 1344 light-years away, and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light-years across. It has a mass of about 2000 times the mass of the Sun.

Even though the Orion Nebula is probably the first Deep Sky Object that every Astrophotographer images, it is actually a tricky nebula to photograph and process due to its wide high dynamic range of bright and faint nebulosity.

Compiled from a combination of "One Shot Color" (OSC) DSLR RGB image data, and Hydrogen-Alpha (Ha), Oxygen III (OIII), and Sulphur II (SII) Narrowband image data (collected at several Star Parties and Astronomy weekends in the past year).
Narrowband spectral wavelengths of the light in this image:
Hydrogen-Alpha - 656.3nm
Oxygen-III - 500.7nm
Sulfur-II - 672.4nm

Visible light spectrum:
400nm - 700nm

Pre-Processing and Linear workflow in PixInsight
and FITS Liberator, and finished in Photoshop.


5 thoughts on “Current Image of the Month

    1. Allen Versfeld

      Hi Deon
      I chatted to Simon when he submitted the image, and the camera was not piggyback mounted – just sitting on a regular tripod! He was using quite a fast lens, under very dark skies, so the exposure time didn’t have to be very long.

  1. chris

    Brilliant image, are you using “Photoshop”diffraction spikes?
    Now I hope you come to the observatory sometime in the future.
    We do have superb skies.


    1. Leslie Rose

      Hi Chris, Thanks!, I am glad you like the image.
      I have added the diffraction spikes in Photoshop using a very versatile plug-in called StarSpikes Pro 3.
      Hopefully Santa will bring me a 8″ Ritchey Chretien, then i can also have “real” star spikes :-)

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