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Orion´s Sword: In the center of the Orion constellation stargazers find what is called Orion`s sword consisting basically of the three belt stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka and the Great Orion Nebula. This wide angle image opens up the scenery even wider and deeper and allows a view into the huge molecular cloud with its star birth areas.

Beginnung at the lower left corner there is a part of Barnard´s loop followed on the diagonal by the bright reflection nebula M78. In the center shines brightly the Flame Nebula close to Alnitak and beautiful IC 434 with the dark Horse Head Nebula.Then on through thick gas and dust clouds towards Running Man Nebula and the very bright Great Orion Nebula (M42/43). Have also a look at the Hi-Res version to appreciate this wonderful skyscape even further.

The RGB part of the image was taken under the very clear sky of Sutherland close to the site of the South African Large Telescope (SALT).

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Jurg Wagener from Sutherland for providing me with one of his observation enclosures for setting up my equipment and his support during my stay. His every night star shows about the wonders of the Southern Sky are an unforgettable attraction for all Sutherland visitors. Find out more about Sutherland and its attractions here.

Object Orionīs Sword - Wide Field
Category Nebulae
Designation Orionīs Sword
Constellation Orion
Optics Canon EF lens 200mm 1:2.8 @ f/3.5
Mount Takahashi EM-11, Astro-Physics GTO 900 (H-alpha)
Camera SBIG STL 11000M with internal CFW 5
Exposure 6 x 10min Baader H-alpha filter, 6 x 5min + 3 x 30sec (Trapezium area) each Astrodon RGB filterset. Maxim DL for image acquisition
Calibration Dark + Flat Frame
Guiding Selfguiding
Processing Maxim DL5,Photoshop. Color Code L:H-alpha,R:H-alpha/R,G,B
Location-Date Sutherland, South Africa - 16 Dec, Somerset West - 19 Dec 2009
Remark The RGB frames were taken in Sutherland, the H-alpha in Somerset West
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