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Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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M42 Orion Nebula (NGC 1976), Matt Marks

Orion Nebula

This is the Orion Nebula. It is a diffuse star forming nebula found in the constellation Orion. All the dust is the remains of several large supernovas, and the material is being used to form new stars. This object is one of the brightest nebulas in the sky, so bright that it can be seen with the naked eye. The discovery of this object was in 1610 by the French Lawyer Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. However, there are Mayan accounts of an object in the same spot in the sky.Even though this nebula is 1600 light years away it still covers half a degree of your viewing angle of the sky, because the entire nebula is almost 30 light years across.

The nebula is so bright because of the three bright stars in the center. I decided to leave that area saturated and try to bring out definition of the gas clouds around them. This is not the complete nebula, more extends all around it. The linear size of the part of the nebula that I studied is 11 light years, or 1.02x10^14 km. The gas is part of a molecular cloud. All the dust particles are colliding and forming new stars. The cloud is made of hydrogen, which is the red cloud. The darker dust that cuts across the image is a two-dimensional plane that we see edge on.

Fix, John D. Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier. 4th ed. New York: MacGraw-Hill , 2006.

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "Messier 42 " Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.seds.org/MESSIER/m/m042.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 05:35:19
Declination (J2000) -5:22:12
Filters used blue(B), green(V), and red(R))
Exposure time per filter 20x6 seconds in B, 20x3 seconds in VR
Date observed

October 19, 2007 (BVR)