Orion Nebula

The biggest, brightest, most photogenic nebula visible in the Northern Hemisphere!

Image exposure:
31 Minutes
Image Size:
2.12º x 1.41º
Image date:
2023-02-10

The Orion Nebula M42 (top), is the biggest, brightest, most photogenic nebula visible in the Northern Hemisphere. The diameter is about 85 arc-minutes, which is nearly the diameter of three full Moons and it lies about 1,400 light years from Earth.

The comma shaped object (centre) is M43 and lower down is the Running Man Nebula NGC 1975. Try tilting your head to the left to see why it has that name.

Because of its position just inside the Southern Celestial Hemisphere (declination -5º), M42 is visible in the night sky from anywhere in the world (unless you have the misfortune to live near the the North Pole).

Next: the biggest, brightest, most photogenic nebula visible in the Southern Hemisphere.


Asteroid Impact

How cool was this . . .

🎇

The most interesting astronomy news this week was NOT about aliens travelling across the galaxy at almost impossible speed to secretly deploy weather balloons to spy on the United States of America.

On 13th February a twenty year old amateur astro-photographer named Tom Williams announced in a series of tweets that a Hungarian observatory had just detected a small asteroid on final approach to Earth.

This enabled a number of people to find a vantage point an aim their cameras in the right direction, including this one from the Channel Islands:


How cool was that? They were able to detect an asteroid the size of a large beach ball, several hours before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

Not only that.

They were able to calculate the exact time and location of impact.

Not only that.

Thanks to the power of Twitter they were able to mobilise an army of people at 3am local time within a 250 km radius to witness and capture the impact* with their mobile phone cameras.

Awesome work, Konkoly Observatory and Tom Williams


* By impact, I mean the last few seconds of its existence as it streaked into the atmosphere, heated up, ionised the air and then broke up in a fireball at an elevation of several kilometres, perchance to scatter a strewn field of meteorites on the French coast below.


EPILOGUE: 18th February 2023:

Asteroid report in Sky & Telescope and meteorite ground discovery.

Astronomy Picture of the Day 17th February 2023


🔹 Images © Roger Powell
🔹 Esprit 120 refractor.
🔹 Focal length: 1680 mm.
🔹 EQ6-R Pro mount.
🔹 CLS-CCD dual band filter.

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5 Comments

  1. That is a very nice image of the Orion Nebula. I was out twice last week with clear skies to hunt for the comet in the news. Each time, I turned the scope on the nebula. It is a reliable favorite. I enjoy seeing the trapezium on high power.
    That asteroid story was great. Everything came together in a short span of time. What fun that must have been for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. M42 is certainly a favourite and most years I will try to see if I can improve on previous years, to see if new equipment or improved technique will produce any improvement.

      I stumbled on the asteroid story on Twitter just about the time it was entering the atmosphere. I thought the late detection was very exciting.

      Spaceweather says it is only the 7th time in history that astronomers spotted an asteroid before it hit Earth – but adds that this makes such early warnings “increasingly routine”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful photo.

    I read about the asteroid (and so a great photo) this morning, along with an article about a dwarf planet with a ring, and Webb discovering a galaxy the looks like ours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Astronomy always brings something new and exciting to read about.

      That ringed dwarf planet is intriguing. I’ve read that Saturn’s rings will be gone in a few million years, so maybe this new discovery will be even more short-lived.

      Like

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