Orion's Sword

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About this Image

Located at a distance of about 1,600 light years, The famous Orion's SWord contains the Orion Nebula complex (M42, M43) as the brightest diffuse nebula in the sky. To the north (left) the bicolored Running Man emission and reflection nebula (NGC 1977) is placed.
The past decades of research on the Orion Nebula have revealed that the visible nebula, M42, the blister of hot, photo-ionized, luminous gas around the 4 hot Trapezium stars, is only a thin layer lying on the surface of a much larger cloud of denser matter, the Orion Molecular Cloud 1 (OMC 1). The age of this cloud is at several million years.
The origin of the rich colors are from the H-alpha, H-beta and O-III emissions. North is left.
Find a close-up on M42 and M43 here.


Technical Details


16" cassegrain in primary focus at f/3 and secondary focus at f/10

Mount MK-100 GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -30C, internal filter wheel
Filters Astronomik LRGB+Ha
Date Jan-Mar 2006.
Location Wildon/Austria
Sky Conditions mag 5 - 5.5 sky
Exposure f/10 center from Feb 09 2005,
other f/10: each L = 60 minutes (10 minute sub-exposures),
f/3: L:Ha:G:B = 90:120:90:120 (10 min sub-exposures for G,B, 30 min for Ha),
Processing Image aquisition, calibration and color combine Ha:G:B in Maxim 4.11, Image compositing, Ha+L as Luminance, color balance, curves, unsharp mask in Photoshop; noise reduction by Neatimage;
north is left;