Thursday, December 22, 2011
Finally did some research, and this picture comprises M42 - The Great Orion Nebula, M43 is the small but bright bit of nebulosity just to the top of the bright trapezium stars, separated by the lane of dark dust. The blue nebula to the top is called "the Running Man Nebula" or NGC 1973/1975/1977.
I promise that I'm still taking pictures of things other than stars. It's just the thing that I'm currently obsessing about during my short windows of free time to edit on the computer.
I was finally fortunate enough to get a window of semi-clear skies and got to set up my scope for a good run at Orion. I have a new sky-glow filter that lets me combat the haze from Boulder, and I wanted to see how long I could push the exposures now. I started at three minutes and worked my way up to ten minutes at ISO 1600. Ten minutes actually gave me an amazingly good looking black where the sky in fact should be black. It's hard to do test shots that last ten minutes, so I went and got a pillow and a big piece of cardboard and laid down on the concrete in my big down puffy and practiced the names of stars while I waited for the shutter. I was really happy with the faint nebulosity that showed up in these longer exposures, especially in the blue reflection nebula to the north of M42. Now I need to work on some combined exposures so that I don't lose all of the detail around the bright trapezium stars.