M-42 (NGC-1976) The Great Nebula in Orion, is one of the brightest diffuse nebula in the sky. It is easily seen as the "fuzzy star" in the middle of the "sword" that hangs from the Belt of Orion in the Constellation of Orion the Hunter. It was discovered in 1610 by French astronomer Nicolas de Pieresc. When Charles Messier published his catalog of nebulae in 1774, it was included as number 42. Messier also gave a separate number, 43, to the attached comma-shaped nebula that appears at the upper left hand corner of this image. M-42 is a combination hydrogen emission/reflection nebula, and is a vast cloud of dust and gas that is an area of intense star formation. It lies 1,400 light years from Earth and is 25 light years in diameter.
This image, acquired on was acquired on November 8, 2015, and is a 1 hour 20 minute integration of
five "layers" of exposures ranging from 2 seconds to 120 seconds. These were layered in order to capture the faint outer wisps of nebulosity without "burning out" the brighter central region centered around the multiple star Theta Orionis (commonly called "the Trapezium". Taken through the Celestron C-11 at f/2 using the HyperStar III imaging system and the Starlight Express SXVR-H694C color CCD camera operating at -10 degrees below ambient temperature and binned 1 X 1. Guided, captured and combined using Maxim DL5 Pro. Post processed using PhotoShop CS2, Gradient XTerminator, StarShrink, Carboni's Astro Tools and NoiseWare.