Contains: NGC 2071, M 78, NGC 2068, NGC 2067, NGC 2064

Image of the day 01/13/2018

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M78 - Another Beautiful Reflection Nebula in Orion

Technical card

Resolution: 3999x3999

Dates: Dec. 5, 2017Dec. 8, 2017Dec. 12, 2017

Astrodon B Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 12x1200" -25C bin 1x1
Astrodon G Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 13x1200" -25C
Astrodon L Gen.2 E-series: 8x1200" -40C bin 1x1
Astrodon Red Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 10x1200" -40C bin 1x1

Integration: 14.3 hours

Darks: ~13

Flats: ~13

Bias: ~20

Avg. Moon age: 20.46 days

Avg. Moon phase: 64.33%

Mean SQM: 21.80

Mean FWHM: 2.20

Temperature: 5.33 job: 1876884

RA center: 86.703 degrees

DEC center: 0.146 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.476 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 179.800 degrees

Field radius: 0.374 degrees

Locations: Deep Sky West, Rowe, NM, United States


M78 is a reflection nebula that's a part of the Orion Molecular Cloud complex. This area is a complex combination of reflection nebula and dark dust lanes and it's a region that I've wanted to image for many years. Now that I have a good view of the southern sky, it was finally possible. Unfortunately, mediocre seeing and occasional windy nights through the new moon cycle made it tough to accumulate enough high quality images to finish this image. I would have liked 1.5 x- 2x as much data but the conditions just wouldn't cooperate (at least for now.) Correctly color calibrating this image was particularly challenging because blue light from many of the stars in this region is filtered out so that they appear more red than they would in open space. Photometric calibration simply doesn't work well. I tried virtually every reference standard available before simply using the balance determined by the filters themselves (i.e. no calibration other than background neutralization.) Maybe I'll gather more data on this one to try to clean it up a bit but for now, I think that it's a pretty good start.

As always, C&C is welcome so let me know what you think.




John Hayes

Sky plot

Sky plot


M78 - Another Beautiful Reflection Nebula in Orion, 


        John Hayes

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