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Astr111 Photography Projects, Spring 2007

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Great Nebula in Orion (bottom) , NGC 1977 (top) , Luke Purdy

orion s001

Nebulae have many explanations. Unlike some celestial items, these formations are caused and maintained by a variety of causes. Sometimes the colorful couds are locations of star birth and formation. Others can be formed by just the opposite--a supernova, or the spectacularly violent death of an ancient star. In any case, the light and colors these great clouds let out are caused primarily by light reflection and refraction from distant or nearby stars.

This photograph contains portions of two different nebulae. At the top, seeming to glow a distinct baby blue, is NGC 1977. The blue color comes from stars in front of the nebula, reflecting blue back from dust the object consists of. In the bottom of the frame, projecting more of a mix of colors, is the very edge of Great Nebula in Orion. Possibly the best-known nebula in the sky, this formation is a birthplace or nursury for forming stars. The gas covering the area is largely hydrogen, which creates the reddish glow.

The distance between the Great Nebula in Orion and earth is approximately 1500 light years. The objects in frame have a linear distance of roughly 9.5 light years from edge to edge. The frame itself has a field of view of approximately 24 arc-minutes.


Gleason, John. "M42: Wisps of the Orion Nebula" Nasa. <http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap050918.htmll>.

Malin, David . "NGC 1977: Blue Reflection Nebulae in Orion." Nasa. <http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960320.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 05:35:14.80
Declination (J2000) -05:01:17
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in CBVR
Date observed

March 3rd, 2007 (CBVR)