M42 also know as "The Great Nebula in Orion" is one of the most
viewed and photographed objects in the night sky. M42, in the
constellation of Orion is the brightest nebula in our sky and
is visible to the naked eye as the middle fuzzy star-like object
in Orion's Sword. At its core is a nest of star birth activity,
which excites the atoms in the surrounding hydrogen cloud to
the point of luminescence.
M42 is approximately 1500 light-years from Earth and about 15
light years across.
Recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope of this region
have revealed many stars in various stages of formation. The
HST images have also revealed proto-planetary disks around many
of the young stars which further verify the theories of planetary
formation around stars.
Image capture and processing information:
Date/Location: February 18, 2007 Lake Sonoma, Sonoma County,
Instrument: SBIG ST-2000XCM through an Orion 6 inch Newtonian
Focal Ratio: f5.0
Guiding: Self-Guiding camera
Conditions: Visually clear
Weather: 50 F, moderate breeze
Exposure: 20 minute single exposure
Processing: Focused and captured with CCDOPS. Image processed
using CCDOPS and Adobe Photoshop CS2