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Contains:  Extremely wide field
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The Colors of Orion - A Panorama of Stars and Nebulae

Technical card

Resolution: 7637x5120

Dates:Sept. 9, 2018Dec. 11, 2018Jan. 6, 2019Jan. 7, 2019

Frames: 180x120" ISO800

Integration: 6.0 hours

Darks: ~22

Flats: ~17

Bias: ~50

Avg. Moon age: 8.70 days

Avg. Moon phase: 4.48%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 3.25

Mean SQM: 21.60

Mean FWHM: 2.75

Temperature: 11.00 job: 2619625

RA center: 82.320 degrees

DEC center: 1.806 degrees

Pixel scale: 12.402 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 91.207 degrees

Field radius: 15.838 degrees

Data source: Traveller


Orion is perhaps the most recognizable constellation in the sky. This deep panormic 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, in a colorful vista. [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]

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 is a mosaic. 9 tiles were merged to form a huge field of over 125MP. The original TIFF filesize is 720MB! Processing was a great effort, but it was worth it to me. The base mosaic (3x3) was captured in January 2019, in two rare clear nights. Each panel is made of 6-8 light frames, for a total of 152'. The mosaic was then processed as usual. Finally, I overlayed my previous deep images of the Belt and the Witch's Head, each 108 and 100' [they can be browsed in my gallery]. The result was a surprise to me, given the conditions and very short integration time per panel. Orion is a beauty and a real challenge to capture and process, but I was very pleased and happy to create this image!

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: September 9, December 11, 2018 & January 6 and 7, 2019
Location: MG and GO, Brazil. Dark-Rural Skies (Bortle 2-3-4, calculated SQM ~21.6)
Camera: Canon EOS T5/1200D (modded), at ISO 800
Lens: Samyang 135mm f/2, operated at f/2.4
Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ5, tracking, guided (~1" RMS)
Exposure Detail: Base: 9-panel mosaic, each 6-8x120s; total 152' for base;
Added Deep Images (Witch Head + Belt) - (108+100') => Total Integraton 360'

[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


The Colors of Orion - A Panorama of Stars and Nebulae, 


            Gabriel R. Santos...