OBSERVER'S CORNER By Professor Hal Jandorf
The BEST astronomy is EXPERIENCING astronomy
Being under a starry sky and the Milky Way overhead.
Watching a solar or lunar eclipse. Experiencing a meteor shower in pristine desert night sky.
Locate a comet with your binoculars. The wonder of a beautiful crescent moon.
Finding Saturn with your own telescope. Photographing star clusters, nebulae and galaxies with your camera.
And sharing the universe with others. THAT is the BEST astronomy!
This month, the spectacular ORION NEBULA is reaching an convenient time to observe.
As known as the Great Nebula (M-42), this emission nebula is worth a view from binoculars to large telescopes.
There is enough primordial hydrogen in M-42 to form 10,000 suns! Actually, the entire constellation of Orion is involved with star evolution.
The first image, taken with a new William Optics "White Cat" Petzval 51mm diameter, 250mm length.
Here you can see the three bright belt stars (Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka). The "Flame” and “Horsehead” Nebula can be seen faintly, close to Alnitak.
The second image allowed me to isolate M42. It is 1500 Light Years distant and spans 20 Light Years across!
The third image is a close-up of M-42. The Orion Nebula is the brightest and detailed nebula in the sky and the center is the young stars called Trapezium.
The blue gas cloud is called the "Running Man" nebula showing a silhouette of a running figure.
The last image was taken with a Orion 120mm Diameter APO Refractor. The visual image is quite different than the photo as it shows a grey/lime green glow.
As Orion rises higher as the months pass, you'll observe more detail of M-42, at the meridian at 9 pm in mid-January!