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Contains:  Extremely wide field
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Orion - the Hunter Constellation, 


            Gabriel R. Santos...
Orion - the Hunter Constellation
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Orion - the Hunter Constellation

Technical card

Dates:Sept. 9, 2018Dec. 10, 2018Dec. 11, 2018

10x10" ISO1600
32x180" ISO1600
104x120" ISO800

Integration: 5.1 hours

Darks: ~20

Flats: ~17

Bias: ~50

Avg. Moon age: 12.01 days

Avg. Moon phase: 8.46%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 3.67

Mean SQM: 21.50

Mean FWHM: 2.90

Temperature: 10.75

Basic astrometry details job: 2437011

RA center: 5h 29' 33"

DEC center: +2° 0' 43"

Pixel scale: 32.299 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 73.501 degrees

Field radius: 19.341 degrees

Resolution: 3600x2372

Data source: Traveller


Orion is perhaps the most recognizable constellation in the sky. This deep image, a huge field (60 full moons across), displays the Hunter in its glory, revealing not only the brightest stars, but also many faint and interesting objects. [1] In a field of nebulosity from Orion Molecular Cloud, some 1500 ly away, lies the Orion's Nebula (M42) and the Horshead Nebula (IC434), in the central "Belt-and-Sword" region. Towards the upper right, near Rigel, the Witch's Head and Bat Nebulae complete the field. Fainter reflection and dark nebulae are present in the field. Finally, H-alpha emisison encircles the Hunter, a nebula known as the Barnard's Loop.

The discovery of the Barnard's Loop is interesting. In his 1894's "The Photographic Nebula of Orion, Encircling the Belt and Theta Nebula" publication [2], the great astronomer and pioneering astrophotographer E. E. Barnard writes: "I have recently been experimenting with a small short-focus lens. [...] The most interesting, however, of these lantern lens pictures are two of the constellation of Orion [...] The pictures showed an enormous curved nebulosity encircling the belt and the great nebula, and covering a large portion of the body of the giant. " [2]

Barnard also comments on an earlier photograph by Professor W. H. Pickering in 1889, in which Pickering hinted the large nebula. Barnard writes "That this object shown on my plates is the same photographed by Professor Pickering in 1889 there is no doubt, as will readily be een upon comparing his description with my drawing [...] This confirmation is all more valuable as it was unconsciously and independently made." The original paper is fascinating! I strongly recommend reading it at [2].

Dazzling our ancestors probably since our species beginnings, the Orion constellation is one of the mos beautiful - both to the naked eye and to deep exposures, that reveal the beautiful nebulosity. Orion marks the Northern Winter' and the Southern Summer' nights. Next time you look up and see Orion above, remember the extent of nebulosity, dust, chaos and order that lis there.

Photographing Orion is a real wonder, but Summer rainy period on Southeastern Brazil – clear skies are rare! Reshooting this field with my improved modded camera and skills is something I've been longing since 2015! [Full story at my previous M42 image].

This image incorporated some new processing techniques. The main wide field is a 40mm, 96 min integration. 10 second HDR exposures were overlayed, especially for the core of M42. After the image was complete, I had a thought: both the Witch Head and the Belt regions were previously well photographed with my 135mm lens. I then overlayed the 135mm fields on top, aligning the stars. Using masks I blended the two exposures together - the result is that this "enhanced" regions have much higher SNR. Processing mainly with APP and PS, with the help of Nik, LR, FW.

Constructive criticism, comments and suggestions are more than welcome in the comments section. Thank you for taking your time to look at this image.

Date and Time: December 10, 2018;
Location: MG, Brazil. Rural Skies (Bortle 3-4, SQM ~21.6*calculated)
Camera: Canon EOS T5 (modded), at ISO 1600
Lens: Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM, operated at f/3.5
Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ5, tracking, guided
Guiding: Starguider 50mm Guidescope + ASI120mm + PHD2; ~1.5”
Exposure Detail: 32x180s (main deep background) + 10x10s (HDR); total 97 min. Overlayed 135mm fields (108'+107').

[1] APOD 21/03/2018 [2] E.E.Barnard, "The Great Photographic Nebula of Orion, Encircling the Belt and Theta Nebula".



Gabriel R. Santos...

Sky plot

Sky plot


Orion - the Hunter Constellation, 


            Gabriel R. Santos...