Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#18 - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Since it was really cold, I decided to give backyard astronomy a try.  I only have view of a slice of the sky, but the Orion Nebula was visible until around 11:15 PM before it slid behind the roof of the apartment building.  The skyglow from the city is much brighter in at my apartment than at the state park, but since the Orion Nebula is so bright (+4.00), it didn’t much matter, and this experiment worked out much better than the Bode’s Galaxy images I tried to get last summer.  I did both 20-second and 30-second images, and discovered that my ratio of keeping vs discarding images is much higher with 20-seconds, like 50% or more.  The background is brighter, but the image is sharper with the additional images.  It’s probably sharper because I used ISO-1600 rather than 3200.  This one combines the 20 and 30 second sets.

M42 Orion Nebula, Nikon D3100 on my C8.
[I didn't record how many of the 20 and 30 second images were stacked.], ISO-1600

Imaging from the front porch went well, but it’s just not dark enough to do much else besides planets, the Moon, and Orion. 
The Orion Nebula is truly something else.  It’s mind-blowingly beautiful.  I love the fact that the colors are real – a part of me always wondered if the colors in those beautiful Hubble images from NASA were real, or added for effect, and now it’s clear to me that they are, indeed, real.  (At least, most of the time – sometimes, IR light is added to the image as well, and sometimes UV).  The red is from hydrogen-alpha (Hα) emission, and the blue is from oxygen (the OIII ions, I guess).  Yup, they’re real!

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