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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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Messier 43 Nebula , Jordan Ipema

Helix Nebula

The M43 Nebula is defined by small clusters of stars that are a part of the Orion Nebula. It is separated from this Orion Nebula by a dark lane, and it was first discovered in 1731 by Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan. In comparison to the other stars of the Orion Nebula, the M43 Nebula is paler and surrounded by a 'fog'. It is located in the northern Orion region and is 1.3 Kilo-lightyears (Kly) away.

The stars in the M43 Nebula are mostly made up of ionized hydrogen and free electrons. The Hydrogen atoms get radiation from UV radiation from other nearby stars. When the electrons de-excite they emit spectral lines, usually resulting in a red glow which is seen in the clouds surrounding the bright star. The stars also exhibit a reduced gas density and low surface brightness. There is an opaque emmision strata, and there are canals through nebular clouds that allow radiation to go far. There are some dark spots around the pink and red that surrounds the main star and also on the outer rim of the bigger cluster that is from the dark dust also in the Nebula. The diffuse Nebula as a whole surrounds a certain variable star called Nu Orionis, which can be seen in this picture above. The glowing bluish that is showing up behind this star is caused by the star's illumination of the dust that is behind it, from our point of view. The extremely black canals that are shown in front of Nu Orionis is the result of dust that has accumulated in there and that is opaque, and from our point of view, all of the light from the star is blocked by this dust. Within the Nebula there are many new stars being born. In the area I have, from top to bottom is approximately .001963 light years or approximately 115,394,937 miles and the object has an angular size of 645 arc seconds.


McArthur, Guy, Mark Elowitz, and Christine Kronberg. "Messier 43." Observations and Descriptions: Messier M43 Ed. Hartmut Frommet. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2005. <http://www.seds.org/messier/Mdes/dm043.html#DeMairan>.

Kronberg, Christine . "De Mairan's Nebula, Companion of the Orion Nebula." Messier 43 Ed. Hartmut Frommert. N.p., 7 Nov. 2007. Web. 3 Dec. 2009. <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m043.html>.

Plotner, Tammy . "Messier 43." facts on Messier 43. Palomar Observatory, 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 3 Dec. 2009. <http://www.universetoday.com/guide-to-space/messier-objects/messier-43/>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 05:36:00
Declination (J2000) -05:16:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C, 60 seconds in BVR
Date observed

November 7, 2009 (CBVR)0