M42 and the Horsehead Nebula 200mm Widefield
M42 and the Horsehead Nebula 200mm Widefield
M42 and the Horsehead Nebula 200mm Widefield
Throughout the constellation of Orion one can see wide expanses of hydrogen clouds and dusty regions. This image is a widefield image covering approximately 6 by 4 degrees of sky between the Horsehead and Flame Nebula at the bottom left and the Great Orion Nebula in the upper right.

In this image, North is to the left.

Exposure Details
Lens Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM (Base image), Celestron C-8 w/Celestron focal reducer (M42 detail image)
Focal Length 200mm for base image, 1260mm for M42 detail image
Focal Ratio f/3.5 for base image, f/6.3 for M42 detail image
Mount Schaefer GEM - 7 1/2 inch Byers gear
Guiding ONAG On-Axis Guider, Lodestar autoguider, PHD Guiding
Camera Canon 450D - Gary Honis modified
Exposure 72 subs of 180 sec @ ISO 1600 (3.6 hours) for base image plus 63 subexposures of 15 sec @ ISO 200, 59 x 30 sec @ ISO 1600, 56 x 180 sec @ ISO 1600 - about 3 1/2 hours total for M42 detail image
Calibration 30 darks, 30 flats, 30 bias
Date December 27, 2011 and February 9, 2013
Temperature 45F on 12/27/11, 24F on 2/9/13
SQM Reading 21.15 (Bortle 4) on 2/9/13
Seeing 3/5 on both nights
Location Pine Mountain Club, California
Software Used Images Plus 4.5 and 5.0 for camera control, calibration, stacking, digital development, multiresolution sharpening, star size and halo reduction, smoothing and noise reduction. Photoshop CS5 used for levels and curves, high pass filter, star shrinking, screen mask invert, unsharp mask, lab color, vibrance, select color, and lens correction. Gradient Xterminator for gradient removal. Carboni Tools for additional noise reduction and smoothing. Focus Magic for focus restoration. HLVG for additional color correction.
Notes After capturing the 200mm widefield data, I decided that the image would look better if I blended in my C-8 data of M42. Since the C-8 version was an HDR blend, it gave me good resolution through the entire Great Orion Nebula - a feature the 200mm data didn't have. I'm happy with the overall effect that this gave this image.

This image won first place in Astrophotogallery.org's Easy-Widefield category for August 2013.