Great Orion and Horsehead Nebulas

June 08, 2011

Orion_fneyer (2)

Photographer: Fabian Neyer; Fabian's website 
Summary Author: Fabian Neyer 

This four-frame mosaic image shows two of the most famous objects in the Northern Hemisphere winter sky in the constellation of Orion; the Horsehead Nebula at the left center and the Great Orion Nebula on the upper right. They're both about 1,500 light years distant and are well known for their star formation processes. They're also sufficiently bright to be observable using strong binoculars or a "backyard" telescope. On long exposure images, such as the one above, it can be seen that the Horsehead and Great Orion nebulas are actually connected -- part of the same nebular system. Note the two bright stars at upper left, which make up 2/3 of Orion's Belt. The middle star in the belt, Alnilam (at upper left), is about 375,000 times more luminous than is our Sun.

Photo details: Telescope: Borg ED101 telescope; STL11000M camera; exposure - RedGreenBlue = 0.0,9.1,8.5, 13.3 hours (60.9 hours in total). Note that this is a 4-frame mosaic.