Orion Nebula in Black & White

A naked eye object, easily visible here in the Southern Hemisphere as a summer object in the Northern sky.

This was a test image with a new camera.

Object Details:

Messier 42, NGC 1976, LBN 974.
Constellation: Orion.
Visual magnitude: +4.0
Apparent diameter: 85 x 60.0 arc-min. (about 2 Lunar Diameters).
Actual diameter: 35 light years.
Distance: 1,400 light years.
Altitude: 49° above NW horizon.

Also visible:

Also visible in this image are: the smaller bright nebula, M43; 2nd magnitude quadruple star Iota Orionis; and wide double star Struve 747.

Image:

Exposure: 14 x 30 sec = 420 sec, gain 179
Date: 2018-02-02.
Location: Leumeah, NSW.
Sky: outer suburban.
Cloud: partly cloudy.
Moon: Waning gibbous 17 days, 94% illuminated, 26° rising in East.
Image acquisition software: SharpCap.
Image post processing:  ESO Fits Liberator > GIMP.
Cropping: no.

Gear:
Imaging telescope: Skywatcher Esprit 120ED Super APO triplet refractor.
Focal length: 840 mm, focal ratio: f/7.
Imaging camera: ZWO ASI 071 MC Pro
Guiding: off (guide camera failed to initiate).
Telescope mount: SkyWatcher EQ6-R.
Polar aligning method: QHYCCD PoleMaster.
Polar alignment error: 11 arc-min.
Field flattener: yes; filter: no.

Observing Notes:
Despite being possibly slightly off focus and somewhat affected by lunar & suburban light pollution, the image seems to have picked up a fair bit of detail. This was my first deep sky image using the ZWO 071 colour camera.

I had no experience in using the live stack feature of SharpCap and I was surprised to find my resultant image in black and white. After many years of shooting with a DSLR, I’m back at the bottom of a steep learning curve with a lot of questions to resolve!


Image © R.Powell


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