Observation by David Davies: Messier 42

Uploaded by

Paul Downing, FRAS


David Davies


2022 Jan 17 - 23:00


2022 Jan 21 - 10:35


The Orion Nebula (M42)

Planetarium overlay



Field centre

RA: 05h35m
Dec: -05°22'
Position angle: +1°33'

Field size

0°47' × 0°38'

  • 200mm Ritchey-Chretien plus a 0.7x reducer to give 1160mm focal length at F/5.8
  • ASI ZWO 294 MC Pro camera
  • Skywatcher EQ8 mount

RGB exposures: four sec, 30 sec, 120 sec and 300 sec


Cambridge, UK

Target name

Messier 42


Messier 42

About this image

David is a member of a small team of astronomers doing online outreach for the Cambridge IOA. Since lockdown, each clear Wednesday evening during the winter months, the team attempts to observe and present online, objects of particular interest in the night sky, often related to the subject of a talk. This activity certainly tests ones ability to find and present images of objects quickly and demands the best performance from the equipment. Last year, therefore, David purchased a ZWO ASI 294 MC Pro camera and Sharpcap to provide colour images quickly, with Sharpcap providing imaging stacking in real-time. He has found it to be an excellent electronically assisted astronomy tool and it has transformed his enjoyment of observing to one with a more real-time appreciation of objects, as opposed to extended sessions of imaging a single object with his QSI CCD camera. 

M42 astonishes because of the deep contrast between the brightness of the Trapezium core and the much fainter outer reaches of the nebula. For this image a range of exposures ranging between 100 x four seconds and ten x five minutes were collected and then blended together in Photoshop.  This image blends the five minutes exposures of the outer regions of the nebula with the shorter exposures for the core and shows well the convoluted gas clouds of emission and reflection that are sculpted by the newly born stars at the core.


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