Enchanted Skies


Orion's Belt (Imaged at 'Upham', NM)

Orion's Belt Map of region near Sadr


Object Information                                            Imaging Details

The second 'outing' for the new 300mm lens was to capture the features around the belt of Orion. The three belt stars are all B-class stars, approximately the same visual magnitude and quite far from Earth (all over 800 l-y away). The area also contains extensive emission nebulosity. The two nebula that stand out the most are the orange-red Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) and the Horsehead Nebula which is actually a dark nebula (B33) in front of an massive emission nebula (IC434).

The image is a combination of Ha data taken from my home, and RGB (color) data acquired at Upham. Conditions at Upham were a bit hazy, but good enough to get the colors since I already had the Ha data.

The flame nebula is pretty easy to spot with a moderately-sized telescope. The horsehead is very difficult to see without an Hb filter.

Clicking the above image will bring up a higher resolution image.


Canon 300mm f/4 (used at f/8 for Ha; f/6.3 for color)

Canon T2i
Baader 6 nm Ha filter (2")
Misc. Optics:
Step down rings to fit 2" Ha filter to 72mm camera lens
Ha - 33 x 5 minutes @ iso 1600, RGB - 33 x 3 minutes @ iso 1600
Camera & lens were piggybacked atop Orion ED80 (which was used for guiding using a ToUCam and Guidedog software)
Images aligned and stacked in Nebulosity. Curves/levels and sharpening with Photoshop CS3. Ha data used for luminosity.

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Enchanted Skies - Astrophotography by Rich Richins (all images copyright, Rich Richins)