Orion's belt consists of 3
stars "in a row" -- Alnitak,
Alnilam, and Mintaka,
instantly visible to anyone
looking up at a clear
winter sky in the northern
hemisphere. Hanging
down from Orion's belt is
his sword, which seems
to consist of a few "fuzzy"
stars. Some of those
areas of "fuzziness" that
are poorly resolved by
the unaided human eye
are superbly resolved by
even a modest backyard
telescope, showing
brilliant nebulosity from
M42, the Great Nebula in
Orion. However, a long
exposure digital image
also reveals subtle colors
and textures in M42, as
well as revealing the
much dimmer nebula
complex of NGC 1977,
aka the
Running Man
Nebula.
Takahashi FSQ106
SBIG STL11K

This is a crop of the
mosaic field shown in a
previous image. The
original data acquired in
Arizona by Jim Misti
was enhanced by
layering in my own data
from Pennsylvania
using a 10" RC (RGB)
and a 4" FSQ (Ha). The
older version can be
viewed with a
mouseover, and
technical info about that
image can be seen
here.

It is certainly instructive
to see how the darker
sky in Arizona allows us
to capture faint red
nebulosity not seen in
the Pennsylvania image.

Processed with CCDsoft,
Registar, Neat Image,
and Adobe PS.
Orion's Sword Region -- NGC 1973/75/77, M42/43
               Click on image to enlarge
        Mouseover to see an older version