M43 and NGC 1977
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.
To the immediate left in this image is a nearly circular emission
nebula formation, known as M43, which is partially obscured by the
dust and gas in M42.
The left-most somewhat bluish object in this image is the reflection
nebula NGC 1977, also known as the Running Man Nebula because of
its unique shape.
This group of objects is approximately 1500 light-years from Earth
and about 30 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
Image capture and processing information:
Date/Location: September 02, 2005 Lake Sonoma, Sonoma County, California
Instrument: Canon 6.1 Megapixel 300D Digital Rebel SLR through a
modified Orion 100 ED refractor piggybacked on a Celestron CM-1100
Focal Ratio: f6.0
Guiding: Manually guided through the Celestron CM-1100 Schmidt-Cassegrain
Conditions: Visually clear
Weather: 65 F, slight breeze
Exposure: 30 minutes @ ISO 1600 (6 x 5 min exposures)
Processing: Focused and captured with DSLRFocus. Images stacked
and processed using RegiStax 2.1 and Microsoft Photo Editor