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M42 (Orion Nebula)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:05 pm    Post subject: M42 (Orion Nebula) Reply with quote

This was my first serious attempt at Deep Sky Astrophotography. I have shot photos of the moon for many years but photographing the Jupiter Saturn Conjunction last December with my "Lunar" rig (Nikon D500, 600mm f/4 ED IF AIS Nikkor and TC-300 2x) rekindled my interest in astrophotography and motivated me to take it to another level. I have gotten a Celestron 8" telescope and a host of accessories, but unfortunately the telescope is backordered (as are telescopes from essentially all makers) until late March.

To photograph this nebula, however, you can get by with a DSLR and medium telephoto lens. Here I used the D850 and 300mm f/2.8 ED IF AIS Nikkor and shot 240 light frames and 30 each dark frames, bias frames and white flat frames and stacked everything together in DeepSkyStacker. The exposure for the light frames was 1 sec @ f/2.8 @ ISO 800. There is the slightest halo around the brightest stars so the focus might have been off just a tad. I do not have a Bahtinov Mask for it but have ordered a 126mm one to be custom made for this lens (as well as a 167mm one for my 600mm f/4 ED IF AIS). That should solve the focus issues. Going to Live View and maxing out the magnification and focusing on Rigel, the brightest star in the Orion Constellation, seemed to work, but apparently not perfectly.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking good.

From where I sit, this time of year has a lot of atmospheric interference in the form of ice crystals.

Astrophotography can get quite expensive from what I've read.

Keep posting them here. Very interesting subject.