Orion Nebula


The entirety of the Orion Nebula extends across a 1° region of the sky, and includes neutral clouds of gas and dust, associations of stars,ionized volumes of gas, and reflection nebulae.

The Nebula is part of a much larger nebula that is known as the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The Orion Molecular Cloud Complex extends throughout the constellation of Orion and includes Barnard’s Loop, the Horsehead Nebula, M43, M78, and the Flame Nebula. Stars are forming throughout the Orion Nebula, and due to this heat-intensive process the region is particularly prominent in the infrared.

The nebula forms a roughly spherical cloud that peaks in density near the core. The cloud has a temperature ranging up to 10,000 K, but this temperature falls dramatically near the edge of the nebula.Unlike the density distribution, the cloud displays a range of velocities and turbulence, particularly around the core region. Relative movements are up to 10 km/s (22,000 mi/h), with local variations of up to 50 km/s and possibly more.

The current astronomical model for the nebula consists of an ionized region roughly centered on Theta Orionis C, the star responsible for most of the ultraviolet ionizing radiation. (It emits 3-4 times as much photoionizing light as the next brightest star, Theta2 Orionis A.) This is surrounded by an irregular, concave bay of more neutral, high-density cloud, with clumps of neutral gas lying outside the bay area. This in turn lies on the perimeter of the Orion Molecular Cloud.
Observers have given names to various features in the Orion Nebula. The dark lane that extends from the north toward the bright region is called the “Fish’s Mouth”. The illuminated regions to both sides are called the “Wings”. Other features include “The Sword”, “The Thrust”, and “The Sail”.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Meade Starfinder 10″
Imaging cameras: QSI 683wsg-8
Mounts: Losmandy G11
Guiding cameras: The Imaging Source DMK41AF02.AS
Software: Main Sequence Software Sequence Generator Pro, PHD guiding, PixInsight, photoshop
Filters: B, R, L, Astronomik Green, Astronomik 12nm SII Filter S2 12nm, astronomik 12nm H-Alpha
Dates: Dec. 27, 2013
Frames: 32×300″
Integration: 2.7 hours

Author: Andrew Lockwood
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI
15 June 2014