Orion Nebula in Colour

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!

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:

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
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:  Deep Sky Stacker > GIMP.
Cropping: minor.

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:
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



  1. Congratulations! It’s an excellent job! The image is beautiful and the colors are perfectly balanced, at least to my liking. Hug from the distance!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, the weather was good for this time of year. But my work and other concerns are not leaving me free time to go to the countryside.

    Liked by 1 person

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