M42, The Orion Nebula

click on the photo above for a higher resolution image

The Orion nebula is the brightest star forming region visible from northern latitudes.
The young central stars are formed in this stellar nursery by the condensation of 
gas and dust under the pull of gravity.  The bright stars then ionize the surrounding 
nebula making it visible.

The object is a challenge to photograph because it has both faint nebulosity to the 
south, east and west and a very bright central core.  So it is necessary to take very
short exposures (2 minutes) to correctly expose the bright areas and very long exposures
(40 minutes x3) to bring out the detail in the faint areas.  The layers are then combined
on the computer using photo editing software.

Date: February 8-14, 2006
Location: Cupertino, CA
Scope: Takahashi FS102 @ 600mm
Guiding: Vixen 60mm refractor with SBIG ST-4
Mount: Losmandy G-11
Camera: SBIG ST2000XM
Filters: Custom Scientific in FLI CFW
Exposure details:
  Hydrogen Alpha for red (3x40min, 3x20, 3x2)
 OIII for blue (3x40, 3x2)
 Sulfur for green (3x40)
Processing: MaximDL for calibration, alignment and combining.  
PSCS for layering in the Trapezium region and  final processing