Tag Archives: the belt of Orion

Orion’s Belt and nebulae


Orion’s Belt or the Belt of Orion is an asterism in the constellation Orion. It consists of the three bright stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.

Looking for Orion’s Belt in the night sky is the easiest way to locate the constellation Orion in the sky. The stars are more or less evenly spaced in a straight line, and so can be visualized as the belt of the hunter’s clothing. In the Northern hemisphere, they are best visible in the early night sky during the winter, in particular the month of January at around 9.00 pm

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Canon EF 100-300mm f/5.6 L, Intes Micro mn 55
Imaging cameras: Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i
Mounts: Sky-Watcher HEQ5
Guiding cameras: QHY5
Software: PHD guiding, Stark Labs Nebulosity 3.1.0, photoshop, Russell Croman gradient xterminator
Filters: Baader 2′ H-Alpha Filter 7nm
Dates: Jan. 8, 2013
Frames: 15×360″
Integration: 1.5 hours

Author: Ivan Jevremovic
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 10 July 2014

Orion Arising 

Image Credit: NASA, ISS Expedition 40, Reid Wiseman

 Orion’s belt runs just along the horizon, seen through Earth’s atmosphere and rising in this starry snapshot from low Earth orbit on board the International Space Station. The belt stars, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka run right to left and Orion’s sword, home to the great Orion Nebula, hangs above his belt, an orientation unfamiliar to denizens of the planet’s northern hemisphere. That puts bright star Rigel, at the foot of Orion, still higher above Orion’s belt. Of course the brightest celestial beacon in the frame is Sirius, alpha star of the constellation Canis Major. The station’s Destiny Laboratory module is in the foreground at the top right.

APOD NASA 28-Jun-14

Inside the Flame Nebula 

A star cluster in the center of the Flame Nebula about 1,400 light years from Earth.

Image Credit: Optical: DSS; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech;
X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/ K.Getman, E.Feigelson, M.Kuhn & the MYStIX team

The Flame Nebula stands out in this optical image of the dusty, crowded star forming regions toward Orion’s belt, a mere 1,400 light-years away. X-ray data from the Chandra Observatory and infrared images from the Spitzer Space Telescope can take you inside the glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds though. Swiping your cursor (or clicking the image) will reveal many stars of the recently formed, embedded cluster NGC 2024, ranging in age from 200,000 years to 1.5 million years young. The X-ray/infrared composite image overlay spans about 15 light-years across the Flame’s center. The X-ray/infrared data also indicate that the youngest stars are concentrated near the middle of the cluster. That’s the opposite of the simplest models of star formation for the stellar nursery. They predict star formation to begin first in the denser center and progressively move outward toward the edges leaving the older stars, not the younger ones, in the center of the Flame Nebula.

A star cluster in the center of the Flame Nebula about 1,400 light years from Earth.A star cluster in the center of the Flame Nebula about 1,400 light years from Earth.

NASA APOD 10-May-14

The Gegenschein Over Chile


Image Credit & Copyright:
 Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution)

Is the night sky darkest in the direction opposite the Sun? No. In fact, a rarely discernable faint glow known as the gegenschein (German for “counter glow”) can be seen 180 degrees around from the Sun in an extremely dark sky. The gegenschein is sunlight back-scattered off small interplanetary dust particles. These dust particles are millimeter sized splinters from asteroids and orbit in the ecliptic plane of the planets. Pictured above from last year is one of the more spectacular pictures of the gegenschein yet taken. Here a deep exposure of an extremely dark sky over Las Campanas Observatory in Chile shows the gegenschein so clearly that even a surrounding glow is visible. Notable background objects include the Andromeda galaxy, the Pleiades star cluster, the California Nebula, the belt of Orion just below the Orion Nebula and inside Barnard’s Loop, and bright stars Sirius and Betelgeuse. The gegenschein is distinguished from zodiacal light near the Sun by the high angle of reflection. During the day, a phenomenon similar to the gegenschein called the glory can be seen in reflecting air or clouds opposite the Sun from an airplane.
APOD NASA 14-Jan-2014