M42 The Orion Nebula
Distance: 1,600 Light Years Telescope: Televue NP101 + Televue .8 Reducer
Magnitude: 4.0 Camera: QSI 683
Size: 85 x 60 Arc-minutes Mount: AP 900
Age: Approx. 30,000 Years Exposures: L 15×300, R 13×300, G 13×300 B 14×300
Exposures: L16x30, R16x30, G 16×30 B 16×30
I have been imaging for about 2 years now and I find myself returning to this target every year. It was one of the first images I ever captured and even through an ETX-125 with a DSLR I was stunned by the results. The following year I used my Televue NP101 with an SBIG 8300C and achieved even better results. This year I used my Televue NP101 with a Televue .8 reducer because I wanted M43 in the field of view. I captured the above LRGB image from my house in a Bortle 6 zone with no LP filter.
M42 is an emission and reflection nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is relatively bright and can be seen without any binoculars or telescope even from light polluted areas. Orion is one of the more easily recognizable constellations in the Northern hemisphere with M42 located just below the belt of Orion in what would be the sword region. M42 is illuminated from a star cluster known as the trapezium and these stars are very young and hot which causes the very thin layer of gas in the area to glow brightly. The entire region around M42 is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud 1 which an active star forming region. Star formation has been seen in various stages along with protoplanetary disks which are disks that are in the earliest stages of planet formation.
Just above M42 is another nebula known as M43. Look closely and you can see what appears to be a person running and hence the knick name, the Running Man nebula. M43 is another star forming region and has its own star cluster providing illumination.
Below is a Hydrogen Alpha image captured from my house in the nights following the LRGB image. Here is the capture info:
Telescope: Televue NP101 + Televue .8 Reducer
Camera: QSI 683
Mount: AP 900
Exposures: Ha 40×900 seconds + Ha 16×5 seconds + Ha 16×10 seconds + Ha 16×30 seconds