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Image down sampled 0.5x - Click on image above for a 1998 film image of M42 - Click here for a full size       image of above.

M42 - NGC 1976 - The Great Nebula
Penryn, California
December 2007
FCL-90 II (ag, ST-4)
ST-10XME LRGB 1 minute subs

The Great Nebula is a naked eye object and appears as the central star in Orion's sword.  M43 is the detached nebula appearing as a comma to the immediate left of M42 in this image. NGC 1977 is the Running Man nebula on the far left.  Orion is thought to be a stellar birthplace with numerous stars being formed from the gas within the nebula.  It is perhaps the most beautiful nebula available to the small scope. Orion is 1600-1900 light years distant and is approximately 30 light years in diameter, 20,000 times the size of the entire solar system (Burnham).