clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

M42, Orion Nebula

A rare, reasonably clear night occurred last night which I decided to take advantage of.  I set up at my dark sky site and took a few pictures.  I also photographed through the telescope (my 70mm f/10 Meade refractor), which I have never done before.  Granted, the exposures were short, but M42 is bright.  I shot about 20 or so 15 second exposures and produced this image:

Not great detail, but if you look closely, I believe I successfully resolved the trapezium in this image, which I believe is a first for me.  Whats up with the funky little tail on the bright star at the bottom of the frame.

I have placed the raws of the images on my webserver, at

I also shot the old fashioned way, using the 300mm zoom camera lens, which seems to have more detail in the nebulocity than the one above.  I used about 200mm of focal length, also about 20 raw frames, each 30 seconds in exposure, f/8.  I also drizzled 3X in Deep Sky Stacker.

The one artifact I always seem to get with this object while using the camera lens is the dark halos around the stars.  I havent figured out how to get rid of it yet.  Also, its funny how the colors are so different between these 2 images.  I used the same camera settings and I did not alter the colors, except to enhance the colors that the camera picked up.  I did no weird color balance or no changing of colors.

I have a 6" Newt and a CG5 mount on order, and should be here this coming Tuesday (Feb. 21).  I will be looking forward to using it to photograph some DSO's.

I have also been learning new processing techniques.  There is an excellent yahoo group out there that teaches astro processing in Photoshop.
It appears to be a new group, and seems to be growing quickly.  These guys will help you get those textbook quality photos, and I hope that you begin seeing improvements in my work.


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