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Orion Nebula - M42

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Unfortunately, from the UK, this will not be visable at night until later September time (about 2am) then through winter getting progressively earlier.

I may look at doing an M81 next ;)

Looking at Orion, what to expect through a normal scope:


Zooming in on Orion


A NASA Hubble video on M42 - Orion Nebula (short documentary)


Orion in Infrared - the buried secrets (short documentary)


<reserves this spot for the James Web :eek:>

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Thanks for posting that - enjoyed watching the vid's especially the first one :eek:

It's a common thing to get excited at the Autumn Star Party just before dawn when Orion pops into view! You can normally fire of a couple of subs before dawn... just!


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@nickk.. very entertaining videos my friend.. and like ant said. especially the first.. i have yet to buy a scope and the first video made me awe as to what i would see in the scope.. really really really nice..

[EDIT].. if the video couldve been color it wouldve been even better.. think you can manage that? just wondering.. =)..

Edited by AweSIM
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likewise brother.. likewise.. i still remember 7 or 8 years back when i first started identifying constellations.. holding star charts in my hand and looking up and trying to identify patterns.. and orion was the first i recognized.. and used that as a stepping stone to find all the rest over the course of a year.. good times.. =)..

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..... if the video couldve been color it wouldve been even better.. think you can manage that? just wondering.. =)..

But then it would not be what you see through a scope - at best you may only see some faint lime green in M42 although often it's just shades of grey as are virtually all other deep sky objects when seen visually.

Edited by John
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I should point out the first video isn't mine :eek: I just noted it whilst on youtube as a very good indication of what you'd see.

The human eye cones which detect colour aren't sensitive enough to make out DSOs, so the image you see is from the black/white output from the more sensitive rods of your eye.

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One of the things we need to keep remembering with deep sky objects is that their appearance through the eyepiece will depend on the observing conditions and light pollution levels almost more than the aperture of the scope used.

On dark nights I've had fantastic view of M42 with just a 4" scope. When the skies are affected by light pollution (man made or moon-supplied !) and / or the seeing conditions are poor, it can look very uninteresting in even my 10" scope.

There are also observing techniques to learn which can tease details out of what looks initially like an unpromising object, turning anti-climax into a memorable experience.

For the above reasons I'm always slightly wary of trying to illustrate to newcomers to the hobby what they might see - it's quite possible that their views, with their eyes, from their location will not match what is described, at least until they spend more time at the eyepiece.

It also can undermine the sense of self-discovery which is so important in the hobby I feel :eek:

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I agree John, that's why I wanted to show the documentaries too.

It's a pity that infrared is not available to us mere mortals who aren't living above the cloud layer.

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