Orion Nebula - September 2007

About the image…

Image Subject – Orion Nebula M42.
Date – 2007.03.01 to 04.
Location Taken – Teide Observatory (Canary Islands – Spain; 16º 30' 35" W, 28º 18' 00" N).
Telescope – IAC80 Telescope (82cm diameter).
Instrument – CCD E2V 42-40.
Focal Ratio – Cassegrain f/11.3.
Exposure – Mosaic of 16 fields 4 x 4. Ha: 2 x 120s; OIII: 2 x 120s; SII: 2 x 120s.
Image Size – 2048 x 2048 pixels (approx. 30 x 30 arcminutes).
Image Type – SII-Ha-OIII.
Software – PhotoShop CS+ (with PhotoShop Fits Liberator).
Images taken and reduced by – Daniel López.

About the object...

Object Name – Orion Nebula M42.
Object Type – Emission nebula.
J2000.0 Equatorial Coordinates – 05h 35m 30s; -05 º 27’ 30’’.
Apparent Size – 85' x 60' (approx.).
Distance – 1,500 light years.
Constellation – Orion.

Discovered in 1610 by Nicola Fabri de Pairesec, M42 sits at a distance of about 1,500 light years from Earth, but it is the most impressive naked-eye diffuse emission nebula in the northern sky.

This picture shows a mosaic composed of 16 images covering a field of about 30 x 30 arcmin. The nebula actually extends over 10 degrees, almost half the Orion constellation, "the hunter".

M42 is an active star formation region and, given its proximity to Earth, it serves as an excellent laboratory to study the processes which gave birth to our own solar system. It is full of very young stars surrounded by circumstellar discs that will end up in planetary systems.

The best known part of this nebula is the Trapezium, four bright massive stars placed at Orion's heart which illuminate the surrounding gas with highly energetic ultraviolet light.