Messier M42 NGC1976 Orion Nebula - 3/1/2011 (Processed and cropped stack)
The 'Great Orion Nebula' is located in the sword of Orion and is one of the brightest nebula in the sky, and perhaps the best known. It is a young star formation region with very hot high-UV stars ionising and 'lighting' the nebula.The brightness of these young stars make this an astrophotography challenge as the central regions are very bright in comparison to the tenous outer nebula and over exposure becomes a problem. High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques must be used to produce an image with a 'flattened' brightness range, more akin to the way the human eye perceives a wide range of brightness.
To the northeast (right as shown) of the Orion Nebula is the 'Running Man Nebula' a blue reflection nebula, caused by reflected light on a dark non-ionised region of nebulosity.
HDR initial attempt, done in mid-2011, using DeepSkyStacker 3.3.2 Stacking 80% of:
12 Images ISO 800, 15 Sec, 6 DARK, 0 BIAS, 0 FLATS (see also separate stack)
6 Images ISO 800, 30 Sec, 32 DARK, 0 BIAS, 0 FLATS (see also separate stack)
20 Images ISO 800, 120 Sec, 11 DARK, 0 BIAS, 0 FLATS (see also separate stack)
Post processed with Adobe Photoshop CS4.
I failed to get the colour balance right here and pushed to far into the blue, which highlights the Running Man, but at the expense of reds in the Orion nebula. See my re-processed attempt in this gallery.
Telescope - Apogee OrthoStar LOMO 80/480 with Hotech SCA T-Adapter, Hutech IDAS LPS-P2 filter, Canon 400D DSLR, Ambient xxC (not recorded). Mount - Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro. Guidescope - Orion ShortTube 80 with Star Shoot Auto Guider.