Derby and District Astronomical Society

Messier 42 (NGC 1976) and Messier 43 (NGC 1982)
The Great Nebula in Orion

Emission Nebulae in Orion      RA 05h 35m 30s  Dec -05d 21m 30s

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This image of the Trapezium Cluster at the heart of the Orion Nebula was captured by Peter Branson over two nights in February 2016. The image was obtained by combining and processing some 400 separate one-shot colour images of 1s, 2s and 5s duration in Nebulosity. The images were taken with a ZWO ASI224-Cool high frame rate camera through a Hutech IDAS light pollution filter attached to a Celestron C9.25 Schmitt-Cassegrain telescope. The telescope arrangement was mounted on an HEQ5 mount.  Image Copyright: Peter Branson.




Peter Branson took this image of the Orion Nebula on the 16th February 2015. The image is made up from 5x100sec, 5x200sec and 5x300sec separate images. These were captured in Artemis Capture software and taken with an Atik 314L+ colour CCD camera attached to TS Photoline ED102 refractor telescope with field-flattener and Hutech IDAS light pollution filter attached. The images were stacked in Nebulosity and the final image was further enhanced using curves and levels. The telescope was guided using an Orion Mini autoguider controlled by PHD software and all the equipment sat on top of an HEQ5 equatorial mount.  Image Copyright: Peter Branson.




Brian Dodson took this image of the Orion Nebula on the 10th March 2014. It is a single 5 second exposure using an Orion G3 Starshoot CCD camera through a 5" Explore Scientific triplet APO refractor. The only processing has been to adjust the histogram.  Image Copyright: Brian Dodson.






This image of the Great Nebula in Orion was captured by Mike Lancaster on the 3rd March 2014. It is a stack of two 4 minute exposures taken with a Mallincam Universe camera at 7 dB gain through a TS 80mm f/6 triplet APO, with a TSFLAT2 field flattener and an Astronomik CLS-CCD filter on an NEQ6 Pro mount. No guiding, flats, darks or bias frames were used. Processing was done in Nebulosity 3, Elements 7, GradientXTerminator and Astronomy Tools.  Image Copyright: Mike Lancaster.






Peter Branson captured this image of the Orion Nebula on the 21st February 2014. The image is a single 60 second unguided exposure at ISO 1600 using a Canon 1100D attached to TS Photoline ED102 refractor telescope with field-flattener and Hutech IDAS light pollution filter attached. The original image was slightly enhanced in GimpShop and Peter comments that on close inspection there is some star trailing evident in the picture. The Running Man Nebula (NGC 1977) is also faintly visible at the left of the picture.  Image Copyright: Peter Branson.







Mike Lancaster captured this image of M42 on the 9th January 2014 using a Mallincam Xtreme X2 camera, a 10" Meade LX200 ACF SCT, NEQ6 Pro mount, and a Mallincam MFR5 focal reducer at f/5. It is a single 10 second hyper mode exposure with the amplifier gain (AGC) set at 4. No guiding or post processing has been employed and the image is what was seen live on the screen at capture.  Image Copyright: Mike Lancaster.






Keith Plamping took this picture showing the Orion Nebula and two of the stars in Orion's belt (Alnitak and Alnilam) on the evening of the 24th February 2012. He used a Canon 600D camera with a 18-135mm telephoto lens. It is a 10 second exposure at f/5.6 and ISO-400.  Image Copyright: Keith Plamping.





The following image of M42/M43 and NGC 1977 was captured by Chris Newsome from his new observatory over two nights with two different telescopes and two different cameras! The first set of exposures were taken on the 20th December 2009 and comprised 18 x 180 seconds at 800ASA with a Celestron C8NGT and a Canon 400D. The second set were taken on 6th-7th January 2010 with a Canon 20D and a Skywatcher 102T and comprised 18 x 240 seconds at 800ASA, 43 x 60 seconds at 200ASA, 10 x 20 seconds at 200ASA and 10 x 120 seconds at 200ASA. Total exposure time was 3.2 hours. M42 and M43 occupy the lower half of the picture while NGC 1977 (The Running Man Nebula) lies at the top. All the images were taken in RAW format, converted to TIFF, stacked in MaximDL and then processed in CS2. Because of the differing image scale of the two setups, the master frames had to be matched in Registar (Chris thanks Adrian Brown for his help) and then combined. The detail in the Trapezium was brought out in the 20 second exposures and these were overlayed on the long exposure frames using a CS2 technique by US astrophotgrapher Jerry Lodriguss. The sharpening was done in CS2 using a different process that Jerry uses (visit his website at www.astropix.com for details).  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.





Simon Allcock captured this image of the Orion Nebula in November 2009. He used a Meade LX-90 with a Canon EOS 400D at the prime focus. The image comprises four 30 second exposures at ISO 400. The images were stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and the resulting image was processed in Photoshop CS2 using an unsharp mask, contrast and histogram equalization. Simon comments: "Although I did find in doing histogram equalization I could bring out a lot more gas structure but to the detriment of over exposing the core region and over brightening the blackness of space, so it was a compromise between the two".  Image Copyright: Simon Allcock.





The following image of M42/M43 and NGC 1977 was captured by Adrian Brown on the 5th, 7th and 14th January 2008. M42 and M43 occupy the lower half of the picture while NGC 1977 (The Running Man Nebula) lies at the top. Adrian used a Skywatcher 80ED Pro refractor, ATIK ATK16HR camera, Astronomik RGB filters, and Celestron CGE Mount. These were guided with GuideDog, a Skywatcher 80T guidescope, and ATIK ATK-2HS guide camera. The image is a two panel mosaic, and each panel is 6x 5mins Red, 6x 5mins Green and 6x 5mins Blue. The raw exposures calibrated in Maxim DL 4.53 using bias, dark frames and flat fields. The exposures were then stacked in Maxim DL 4.53 using Russell Croman’s Sigma Reject plug-in. The panels were aligned with Registar 1.0 and processed with levels, curves, a noise reduction filter and colour balance in Photoshop CS2.  Image Copyright: Adrian Brown.





Adrian Brown captured this two frame mosaic of M42/M43 and NGC 1977 on the 16th December 2006. M42 and M43 occupy the lower half of the picture while NGC 1977 (The Running Man Nebula) lies at the top. The image is a tri-colour emission line composite taken using narrowband filters. Adrian took a series of exposures through 13nm Hydrogen-Alpha, Oxygen III and Sulphur II filters, and created a colour image by assigning the sulphur data to red, the hydrogen data to green and the oxygen data to blue. The exposure details for both image frames are 6 x 90 sec Ha, 8 x 120 sec [SII] and 8 x 120 sec [OIII]. Adrian used his usual imaging setup of an 80ED refractor and an ATK16HR camera. The CCD camera was running in 2x2 binned mode. Also, a series of 25 second exposures through each filter were taken for the Trapezium section of M42, which was totally burnt out in the longer exposures. Maxim DL 4.53 was used to stack the exposures and join the individual frames of the mosaic. Adobe Photoshop CS2 was used to contrast stretch the images using curves and to blend the short Trapezium exposures with the M42 nebula image. Adrian comments: "Normally, emission line filters require long exposure times (often 10 mins +) to build up an adequate signal strength, but I was dodging numerous contrails created by the planes from East Midlands airport. As a result, I had to resort to short exposures at half the normal resolution of my setup, with the camera binned 2x2 to increase sensitivity. This was very frustrating as it was a lovely clear night with no Moon. The colours indicate where the different gases are distributed throughout the nebula, which makes it quite interesting. I particularly like the Running Man nebula (NGC 1977). It seems that the silhouette of the running man is made up mainly of hydrogen gas (due to it's green hue in this image), whereas the surrounding reflection nebula is where the oxygen and sulphur is located (I'm assuming this from the purple hue)".  Image Copyright: Adrian Brown.





This image of the Orion Nebula was taken by Chris Newsome on the 6th March 2006 using a Canon EOS 300D camera, Astronomik CLS filter and Skywatcher 80T refractor. It is comprised of 37 frames (12x60sec at 200ASA, 8x60sec at 800ASA, 6x60sec at 1600ASA, 3x90sec at 200ASA and 8x105sec at 200ASA). All of the images were captured in RAW format and then converted to TIFF. Each was calibrated in Maxim DL. Chris states: "I tried three different methods of combining them, but settled on doing a manual 1 star align on all 37 frames in Maxim DL and combining them all instead of combining the combined images at each different setting. This combination process took around 20 minutes to complete on the computer and then the final image was processed in Photoshop CS2 using GradientXTerminator, RGB levels, curves, high pass filter, unsharp mask and a Gaussian blur. The final image was then converted to JPEG format".  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.





Chris Newsome produced this composite image of M42/M43 on the 10th February 2006. The image, which he describes as an 'experiment' is composed of the following: 10 frames at 90 seconds and 1600ASA, hydrogen alpha filtered and converted to grayscale, 10 frames at 90 seconds luminance at 400ASA, and 10 frames at 90 seconds luminance at 100ASA. All taken with a Canon EOS300D camera at the prime focus of a Skywatcher 80T refractor. Each of the frames were calibrated (dark frame and bias) in Maxim DL and then combined to produce a master image of each setting. Then these three were processed in Photoshop CS2 using GradientXterminator, RGB levels, curves and a high pass filter, to produce a final master image of each setting. These three final masters were then combined as different layers on a single canvas to produce a TIFF image and each layer was further processed using RGB levels and curves to produce a single image which was then converted to JPEG format. Chris comments: "Due to the amount of processing and also the H-alpha image being converted to grayscale, a lot of the overall colour of the nebula has been lost, though. Whilst the resulting image isn't my best, it shows structure in the nebulosity whilst at the same time, also shows the Trapezium star formation at the heart of the nebula, something which is normally lost when images are taken to show the nebulosity alone due to the bright heart of the nebula. Definitely room for improvement but a starting point on combining different images at different settings". Chris thanks Adrian Brown for the loan of his H-alpha filter.  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.





The following image shows both the Orion Nebula (lower part of picture) and the Running Man nebula (NGC 1977, at the top of the picture). It was taken by Chris Newsome on the 21st January 2006 and is the second object imaged by Chris Newsome during 'first light' of his new Skywatcher 80T telescope (click here for the first object. For this image Chris used a CG-4 mount, Canon EOS300D camera and Astronomik CLS filter. Seventeen 75 second exposures were stacked and dark subtracted in K3CCDTools and the resulting image processed using GradientXTerminator, RGB Levels and curves in CS2. Chris comments: "Because of the wider field of view I have been able to include all the components of the Sword of Orion including the Running Man Nebula and M43. By using the Astronomik CLS light pollution filter, I have been able to retain more of the natural colour than having it processed out in a sodium washed out image that would have been produced the without the filter in place. When you look at it, you will see that a friendly artificial satellite has decided to get in on the picture!"  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.





Chris Newsome took the following image of M42/M43 on the 18th November 2005. He used a Canon EOS 300D set to 1600 ASA at the prime focus of a Celestron C6-N. The image comprises eight 60 second exposures stacked and dark subtracted in K3CCDTools with final processing in CS2.  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.





The following image of M42 was taken by Simon Allcock around 02:00 UT on the 5th November 2005. He used his Meade LX90 and DSI camera and Adrian Brown's Meade f 3.3 focal reducer. The image comprises sixty 20 second exposures which were stacked in Maxim DL and processed in Photoshop v9. Simon thanks Chris Newsome for help with his DSI and LPI on the night, and Adrian for his guidance and patience whilst processing the images!  Image Copyright: Simon Allcock.





Chris Newsome took the following image of M42/M43 on the night of the 4th-5th November 2005. It is a stack of 14x30 second exposures taken on a Canon EOS300D at the prime focus of a Celestron C6-N, with no light pollution filter. The images were focused using DSLRFocus and stacked and dark subtracted in K3CCDTools to produce a 16bit TIFF file. This was then processed in Photoshop v9 (CS2) using curves, RGB Levels, and Gradient XTerminator to produce the JPEG image seen here.  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.





The following image of M42/M43 was produced by Adrian Brown on the 17th September 2005. He took fifteen 60 second exposures with a Canon 300D camera and an 80ED refractor. The gain on the 300D was set to ISO200. The raw images were stacked with Maxim DL and then processed in Photoshop - mostly using the levels and curves tools. He also used a Gaussian blur filter to blur the nebulas a bit to get rid of some graininess. The reflection nebula NGC 1977 can be seen at the top of the image. It has been dubbed The Running Man due to the shape of the dark region inside it.  Image Copyright: Adrian Brown.




Chris Newsome produced the following image of the central region of M42 on the 16th September 2005.
  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.





The following image of the Great Nebula in Orion (Messier 42) was captured by Adrian Brown through his 11-inch Celestron CGE at f/6.3 using an ATK-1C camera on 8th January 2005. It is a combination of ten 90 second exposures.  Image Copyright: Adrian Brown.




The following picture shows the Sword of Orion taken by Chris Newsome on the 6th January 2005 using a Minolta Z2 digital camera at 200 ASA. It is a combination of four 30 second exposures.  Image Copyright: Chris Newsome.


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