AstroPhotography by Dan Richey

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M42 / M43
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M42 / M43

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The Orion Nebula is a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344 ± 20 light years and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across. It has a mass of about 2000 times the mass of the Sun. The Orion Nebula is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky, and is among the most intensely studied celestial features. The nebula has revealed much about the process of how stars and planetary systems are formed from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers have directly observed protoplanetary disks, brown dwarfs, intense and turbulent motions of the gas, and the photo-ionizing effects of massive nearby stars in the nebula. There are also supersonic "bullets" of gas piercing the hydrogen clouds of the Orion Nebula. Each bullet is ten times the diameter of Pluto's orbit and tipped with iron atoms glowing bright blue. They were probably formed one thousand years ago from an unknown violent event. Messier 43 (also known as M43, De Mairan's Nebula, and NGC 1982) is an H II region in the Orion constellation. It was discovered by Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan before 1731. The De Mairan's Nebula is part of the Orion Nebula, separated from the main nebula by a lane of dust. It is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.

Object Information

Name M42 / M43
Type Nebula
Constellation Orion
Catalogue M42/43 - NGC 1976/NGC 1982

Acquisition / Processing

Exposure Ha - 36 x 900 sec Bin 1
Total 9.00 Hr
Telescope AP 160 @ f7.7
Camera SBIG STL-11
Camera Temp -40ºC
Guiding SBIG RGH
Mount AP 900GTO
Filters Astrodon-Gen 2-3nm Ha
Processing PixInsight
PS CS 5
Location San Pedro Creek, NM
Date January 12, 2014

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