M42 Orion Nebula Redux

The Orion Nebula, the middle “star” in Orion’s sword, is a region of active star formation. It’s one of the brightest and probably the easiest Messier object to find. Observing this night was a bit sketchy—a fair amount of clouds. So the exposure isn’t all that long. I used a new (to me) technique in Photoshop for this one. Since the center of the nebula, the “Trapezium” cluster, is very bright compared with the diffuse outer clouds, I created a layer mask with the shorter, 15-second exposures to show the brightest portions of the nebula. This allows some detail in the center to be seen instead of just an white, overexposed core.

Shot 13 February 2010; Mt. Tamalpais State Park, California; ISO 800, Exp: 17 x 1.5 minutes + 5 x 15 seconds, f/5.2, Canon EOS 5D & Televue NP127is. Post-processing with ImagesPlus 3.0 and Photoshop CS4. 

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