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Alnitak - It's a bit bright.........but it has some very pretty friends


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This was the last image I captured at Kelling Heath, taken when all the other astronomers had left, and on the best night of the two weeks we were there. I still have a load of others to process from the trip, but had an inkling that I was going to like this one :D The dark sky and no LP filter really seems to have helped with the amount of faint nebulosity captured, I also love the way the stars drop off considerably behind that thick brown cloud of dust.

Taken through a Skywatcher MN190 - 30 x 400 secs plus 30 x 400 Ha captured simultaneously via WO72.

Thanks for looking.



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Really like this TJ, I actually said 'oooooooh!' when I saw it :D there's such alot going on... like you I love the way the stars drop off behind the brown cloud of dust. Particularly like the contrast betwen the light wispy areas and then the darkness of the horsehead :D

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A very accomplished image TJ. I'm beginning to think Kelling is the Mecca for Imaging. I just wish the A1 could be turned into a Motorway, and I would have no hesitation about returning.

Anyway, it's another year away, and I may rethink my plans.

Alnitak is deemed a pest in that area, but it will get worse in time. It's destined to be a Red Giant like Betelgeuse, and experts believe that Hydrogen fusion as ceased at the core.

I'm no Stellar expert, I looked it up. Even it's distance was halved to about 800 light years by the Hipparcos satellite.

You could try an occulting bar, but the star needs to be there, its part of the scene. Nature will shift it, but don't hold your breath.:D.


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Stunning, particularly the nebulosity.

Alnitak is a killer, though, for all of us. Rob managed to get the beast under control last winter. Perhaps he'll tell us how! I have been playing recently with some 10 and 30 second exposures but while I can get it to appear as a visual double the consequences for the area around it are 'orrible.

One thing though; I think a very DRY night is essential. Humdity scatters the light everywhere.

But again, yours is a splendid image with rich reds and choking dust.


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Thanks Olly. I didn't even try taming it for this process, just let the whole thing hang out, as it was only meant to bit a quick "look and see whats there" but I got a bit carried away :D When I get time I will start again with it perhaps and try to keep it under control.

OTA's with mirrors will always come off worse with big bright whoppers like Alnitak I suppose.

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I absolutely love this image to bits. IMHO the bright star makes the picture - puts the cherry on the cake. We've got some lovely bright stars in our sky, and only a few are nearby any good DSOs - why not show them off? I can't be the only one who thinks that?

TJ - any chance of a higher res version to put on the desktop?


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