A Winter Classic: M 42, the Orion Nebula

Messier 42 (M 42), the famous Orion Nebula, is an emission-reflection nebula located in the constellation Orion. With an apparent magnitude of 4.0, the Orion Nebula is one of the brightest nebulae in the sky and is visible to the naked eye. It lies at a distance of 1,344 light years from Earth and is the nearest stellar nursery. The Orion Nebula is a place of massive star formation and one of the most studied deep sky objects in our vicinity as it allows astronomers to study the process of stars forming from clouds of dust and gas and the photo-ionizing effects of massive young stars that are responsible for the nebula’s glow. The temperature in the central region is up to 10,000 K and considerably lower around the edges. Messier 42 contains hundreds of very young stars, less than a million years old, and also protostars are still embedded in dense gas cocoons. The nebula is home to about 700 stars in different stages of formation. The youngest and brightest members are believed to be less than 300,000 years old, and the brightest of these may be as young as 10,000 years old, real star babies!

M 42

Telescope: 16″ f3.75 Dream Scope
Camera: FLI ML16803
Mount: ASA DDM85
Exposure: 4 hours (36x90s & 36x15s L + 3x6x90s & 3x6x300s RGB)
Date: December 2018
Location: Southern Alps, France

One Reply to “A Winter Classic: M 42, the Orion Nebula”

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