Derby and District Astronomical Society

NGC 1977
The Running Man Nebula

Reflection Nebula in Orion      RA 05h 35m 30s  Dec -04d 52m 00s

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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.

Adrian Brown captured this two frame mosaic of NGC 1977 and M42 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)".

The following image shows both the Running Man Nebula (NGC 1977, at the top of the picture) and the Orion Nebula (M42, lower part of 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!"

Adrian Brown took this image of NGC 1977 on the 23rd December 2005. Part of the Orion Nebula (M42) is visible at the bottom of the picture. Adrian used a Skywatcher 80ED refractor as the imaging scope at f/7.5 on a CGE equatorial mount. A C11 SCT was used as the guidescope at f/6.3. An ATIK ATK-16HR was used as the imaging camera with an ATIK ATK-2HS for guiding. Adrian also employed Astronomik Luminance and RGB filters, an ATIK Manual filter wheel, and an Orion Skyglow Broadband filter. Image acquisition was made with Artemis Capture, and autoguiding with GuideDog software. The exposures used were Luminance: 4 x 10 minutes, Red: 7 x 3 minutes, binned 2x2, Green: 8 x 3 minutes, binned 2x2 and Blue: 8 x 4 minutes, binned 2x2. Image stacking and colour exposure combining was performed in Maxim DL 4.11. Levels, curves and unsharp mask filtering were used in Adobe Photoshop.