Orion’s Belt by Brian McGaffney

Photo of the Week for January 10, 2014

Brian McGaffney - Orion's Belt

The area surrounding the three belt stars of Orion, (at top) is a deep-sky treasure trove. Most prominent is the Orion Nebula, at bottom, which is picked up as a pinkish glow in time exposures but appears as a fuzzy “star” to the unaided eye. Through a small telescope, the nebula shows up as a greyish, wispy cloud; greater detail is revealed through a large telescope. The Flame and Horsehead Nebulas, respectively to the immediate left and below the lower belt star, are much more difficult to observe and require specialized filters and a large telescope.

Brian McGaffney captured this image of the three nebulas while vacationing in Florida this past December. Ninety seconds of exposure time were taken using a 200mm f/4 lens and a Canon 60Da DSLR camera. Tracking was accomplished using an AstroTrac mount.

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