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 and initially I could only obtain a black & white image. Now here is the colour version!
Messier 42, NGC 1976, LBN 974.
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 in this image are:
NGC 1973, NGC 1975, and NGC 1977, the Running Man Nebula;
the smaller bright nebula, M43;
2nd magnitude quadruple star Iota Orionis; and
wide double star Struve 747.
Exposure: 14 x 30 sec = 420 sec, gain 179
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: Deep Sky Stacker > GIMP.
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.
This was my first deep sky capture using my new ZWO 071 colour camera.
It is possibly a teeny bit off focus and somewhat affected by lunar & suburban light pollution.
After posting the b&w version, I researched how to extract colour data from ‘fits’ files (which I have never used before). This was the result.
Image © R.Powell