Thursday, January 18, 2018

Messier 78

Messier 78 is a reflection nebula in the Orion constellation. I have always found it a difficult object to image due to its intrinsic visual properties and the sheer bad luck I sometimes have with equipment and weather.

I think that a good, detailed image of this nebula can only be attained using a specialized CCD astroimaging camera, a long focal length scope, and a mount that can perform accurate tracking for long periods of time. I have none of these, but overall I'm fairly pleased with this image.

If you are viewing this on a laptop screen, phone, or tablet, then it is likely that you are going to miss a lot of the details in this image. The main part of the nebula is relatively faint, but the surrounding nebulosity is VERY faint. In fact, it is practically invisible as it absorbs nearly all of the light from the stars in and behind it. Examine the image. Where you don't see stars: that's the nebula. Pretty spooky, huh?

Messier 78
If your monitor brightness is fairly high, then you might see a splash of red on the lower-left corner. That is a portion of Barnard's Loop.

Exposure: 42x120@ISO1600
Telescope: AT72EDII
FF/Reducer:  ATR8 (f/4.8)
Mount: Vixen Super Polaris
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3
Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop CS6

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