M42 Great Orion Nebula
DETAILS: Imaged with the LX200 10" and STV Digital Videocamera and Autoguider with FR-237 reducer at f3.75. Processed, aligned and color combined in MaxIm DL. M42 is difficult to image without burning out the bright Trapezium area and capture the fainter nebulosity, especially with the narrow field of view afforded by the STV. Further attempts will be made with the ST-10XME when Orion is available.
COMMENTARY: M42, the Great Orion Nebula, is the most famous star-forming region in the visable Galaxy. It is located in the sword asterism of the beautiful and large Constellation Orion, and visable to the naked-eye as a fuzzy patch of light, interpreted by many as a star. It is an enormous cloud of fluorescing hydrogen gas, with traces of helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen 40 light-years in diameter. Ultraviolet radiation from Theta Orionis, a bright grouping of four massive stars (known as the Trapezium), illuminates the whole Trapezium region, burning a hole in the center. It is a very active star-forming nebula at an approximate distance of 1,500 light-years.