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Paul73

Viewing the Flame Nebula? AND Sigma Orionis

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Morning everyone

Last night I had a lovely couple of hours with Orion and an enthusiastic wind. This is the second session on Orion this year an I am staggered by its richness and range of targets. I did want to pose a couple of questions on these two very different targets.

1/ Sgma Orionis - Coudn't find the rain brown/red ellement on my maps. Which was it?

2/ Flame Nebula - How to get the best out of this one visually?

Sigma Orionis:

A perfect little Quadruple (visual) star system. Nice and easy to find (only a degree south from Alnitak in the belt). Post session, I checked it out on Sky Safari and couldn't see the fainter fourth star. Stellarium was also missing this little brown/red chap nestled in close (10" ish) from the main unsplitable A&B stars. Was I looking at the "C" component? Sorry about the amature memory sketch.

post-32768-0-01931600-1421393639_thumb.j

Flame Nebula:

This one proved difficult. After prolonged viewing, I could get only the faintest suggestion of texture, not enough to call it proper nebulosity, but something was there. The glare from Alnitak was causing issues. Unfortunatally, the best contrast seemed to come at x50 so keeping Alnitak out of the view and getting the nebula central proved impossible. UHC and OIII filters didn't help. Any hints and tips??

Paul

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Hi Paul,

I was looking at this last night too (Sigma Ori, not the Flame). Seeing conditions were pretty dire unfortunately but could still pick up the fourth star in moments of good seeing.

I have looked for it on SkySafari too but it's not there.

I found this diagram on the web which agrees with your labelling though.

83318fc2889f6800208d2d84bc6d8928.jpg

086de4d3efb5107b2ef0f7c1a8d73a02.jpg

Can't assist on the Flame I'm afraid, never seen it but hear it's pretty tough.

Cheers,

Stu

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Paul,

I viewed this the night before last and even with a slightly larger scope it was nothing to shout about, I think this is one that needs a camera to see it at it's best or a massive scope.

Can I also ask what this Struve I see in many places means?

Alan

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The flame is possible visually. It is slightly easier than the Horsehead, reputedly, although the only time I spotted the Horsehead I forgot to have a look at the Flame. It needs very clear, dark skies, decent aperture and H-beta or UHC filter. I hope to do this from a dark location in Autstria in February

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Paul,

I viewed this the night before last and even with a slightly larger scope it was nothing to shout about, I think this is one that needs a camera to see it at it's best or a massive scope.

Can I also ask what this Struve I see in many places means?

Alan

Hi Alan,

Hope I'm not stating the obvious, but the Struve numbers relate to double and multiple star catalogues.

More info here

https://www.astroleague.org/content/struve-family-and-double-stars

Stu

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I have found good transparency and dark skies are a must for the Flame Nebula. As you have said placing Alnitak just out of the field of view does help. Whilst I mainly use my 12 inch dob the best view I have had of the Flame Nebula was through my 8 inch Newtonian one night about 2 years ago when the conditions were perfect, the 3 brightest sections of the nebula were very apparent.

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I generally have no problem with the Flame under pretty good skies in mid Wales with my ten inch. When the skies are less good I have no chance of seeing it. On good nights I tend to look for the Flame as a prelude to failing to see the Horsehead.

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I've had faint glimpses of the Flame with my 12" and with the H-Beta filter in place. Only faint mind and only on the very best nights here. No sign of the HH nebula as yet.

Sigma is a lovely set of stars and "C" looks to be in the correct position in your drawing Paul. I can usually get C with my 4" refactor if the conditions are half decent.

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I like the USA nickname for the Flame.... " the tank track nebula", this is actually a better description for visual obs IMHO. Keeping Alnitak out of the FOV is a good thing to do, which might be easier with narrow FOV EP designs.

In my f4.8, an eyepiece range between 18mm to 25mm works well, with a push towards the 18mm.

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Hi

I've found the Flame way easier than the HH.  Good transparency and a dark sky required but nowhere in the same 'difficulty' league.

I remember having a great view through an OMC 140.  That had the advantage of keeping the nearby bright star out of the FOV..!

Good hunting :)

Paul

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I agree with Paul (clarkpm) the fame stands out quite easily compared to the horsehead. Observed this a few times over the years, best so far was with a 16" from mid Wales, where it was actually standing out very nicely with no filter.

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I like the USA nickname for the Flame.... " the tank track nebula", this is actually a better description for visual obs IMHO. Keeping Alnitak out of the FOV is a good thing to do, which might be easier with narrow FOV EP designs.

In my f4.8, an eyepiece range between 18mm to 25mm works well, with a push towards the 18mm.

This is exactly why eyepieces with 40-50 degree FoV's are recommended for this purpose.

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Hi all.

I've observed the Flame several times in a variety of scopes, down to an ED80. Medium power and great sky conditions help immensely. And keeping Alnitak out of the field.

I have read that it's only worth looking for the HH if the Flame is easy to see. I have used this as a guide, and gone looking for the HH in an 8" Dob when the Flame was easily seen... and still came away with no HH under my belt!

But I'll keep trying!

Ant

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I've got an LPR filter that seems to work well on the flame. Not tried my UHC yet. I've never tried the flame with bad light pollution but with fairly dark skies and my LPR filter it's been pretty good. Of course the transparency needs to be good too.

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Thanks Guys

Looks like my little brown star in Stuve 762 / next to Sigma Orionis is the C ellement of the group.

Nice to know that the Flame Nebula isn't an easy one. It has offered up enough of a tantalising glimpse to make it worth pursuing. Any thoughts on a good eyepiece for this? I don't mind investing as there are number of targets that need the main star blocking out.

Paul

PS. I think that the HH can wait for some more appature ......

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Thanks Ant

Splendid article. If I am going after something really faint and diffuse, my 20 or 24mm eyepieces seem to achieve the best contrast. This equates to 4.25 & 5.1mm exit pupils respectively which fits with the author's thoughts.

Paul

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Nice report on those multiples, Paul, and definitely worth checking out. I haven't looked at these yet so thanks for pointing them out.

Good luck with 2024. Photos look splendid so would be pretty exciting to make any of that out visually.

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