Tag Archives: M42

Orion Nebula M42

The Orion Nebula must be one of the greatest objects in the night sky. At about 1,344 light years away it’s not close but it is visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy patch in the middle of Orion’s sword.

This nebula is difficult to photograph because of the large dynamic range in the image. The Trapezium is a group of bright stars that illuminate the nebula and the difference in brightness between these stars in the centre and the fainter clouds on the outside makes it hard to image and process the nebula in all its glory.

This image was taken at Rabbiter’s Hut in the Adelaide Hills on a dark night and processed from 5 light frames and 2 dark frames of 5 minutes each. I used the Orion ED80 (500mm focal length) and Canon 600D (modified). The Skywatcher EQ6-R was tracking on its own without any guiding but I do make an effort to get the polar alignment as accurate as practically possible.

Processing was normal with DSS and Lightroom 4.

Orion Nebula M42

Orion Nebula M42


During one of my recent trips to the Flinders I took a few photos of Orion. Orion is one of my favourite summer constellations. Normally Orion is visible during the early evening in Summer months. Well, its winter here at the moment and I had to get up at 3am to take my photos of Orion. I had to wait until 3am because the moon only set at 2am and I needed some sleep.

In this image the Great Nebula in Orion (M42) is at the top right. The Horsehead Nebula is just visible at the bottom centre to the right of the bright Zeta Orionis. The three bright stars in a row is also known as Orion’s belt and the large nebula is located in Orion’s sword.

Orion 3x3min 1200

This image is made up of 3 x 3 minute exposures with 3 dark frames. I used an iOptron SkyTracker to keep my Canon 600D with a Canon EFS 18-135mm on target. I used 135mm. 540 seconds in total, f/5.6 at ISO-3200. Processing as usual with DSS, CS2 and LR4.