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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Constellation Orion
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04/01/2007 12:59:10 PM · #1
I was out last night doing some astro work for the first time since winter and wanted to share the best shot of the batch.

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The area I'm in suffers from light pollution, and I realize I made a few mistakes doing this, but I was still pleased with it and welcome any comments.

In the future, I need to boost the ISO to at least 400 to cut down on the exposure time to get rid of the trailing. I think I can also underexpose, as the sky came out brighter than it needed to be in all of my shots and I had to fix it in PS.
04/01/2007 01:08:23 PM · #2
A tracking mount would be a big improvement, permitting much longer exposures without significant trailing. Here is a shot of the Orion Nebula I took last year, 30 second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 with lens set about 100mm.

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04/01/2007 01:12:46 PM · #3
That's pretty nice -- I have similar city conditions, but this encourages me to try it myself, before the Hunter disappears from the Summer sky.

You might want to look into a pregram called Registax, which helps you "stack" several shorter, lower-noise images into a final composite. I think that can help compensate for not having a tracking mount.
04/01/2007 01:15:45 PM · #4
Originally posted by ElGordo:

30 second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 with lens set about 100mm.

Is that attached to a telescope, or just a 100mm lens?
04/01/2007 01:52:13 PM · #5
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by ElGordo:

30 second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 with lens set about 100mm.

Is that attached to a telescope, or just a 100mm lens?


I read it as a 100mm lens, but it's a very significant crop. This one

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was shot using a 400mm lens on the 5D (same FoV as a 250mm lens on an APS-C cam) and is still cropped. It's an 1800x1800px crop from a 4368x2912px frame.
04/01/2007 01:56:42 PM · #6
that's great....when i finally get off bed rest I will go out and try some star shots!
04/01/2007 02:03:20 PM · #7
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by ElGordo:

30 second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 with lens set about 100mm.

Is that attached to a telescope, or just a 100mm lens?


I read it as a 100mm lens, but it's a very significant crop.

So you're saying I can dig that out of one of my shots with my 412mm (35mm equivalent, I think)? Which "star" is the nebula?
04/01/2007 02:07:00 PM · #8
You can easily see which one it is with binoculars.
04/01/2007 02:08:39 PM · #9
Originally posted by MelonMusketeer:

You can easily see which one it is with binoculars.

Or looking through the zoom lens, I guess : )
04/01/2007 02:12:40 PM · #10
Originally posted by ElGordo:

A tracking mount would be a big improvement, permitting much longer exposures without significant trailing. Here is a shot of the Orion Nebula I took last year, 30 second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 with lens set about 100mm.

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You don't say what telescope you used that required tracking for a 30 second exposure but yours is a nice shot.

I could be wrong, but the "streak" in the lower right corner could be the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) which is nearby the Orion Nebula (M42).

Orion is the only constellation (in the western world) that has three first magnitude stars. The fuzzy 'middle star' of the sheathed sword is the Great Orion Nebula, famous as the birthplace of stars and is one of the most studied and most beautiful objects in the sky.

In Greek mythology Orion is the greatest hunter in the world. In one story it is said that because of his excessive boastfulness he was cursed when immortalized as a constellation by being made to forever pursue Scorpio, the Scorpion, across the sky without ever being able to catch him... for all eternity. To this day, when the constellation Orion rises in the sky, Scorpio escapes by setting in the west.

I majored in physics and astronomy. I named my first born son Orion.
04/01/2007 02:15:32 PM · #11
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by ElGordo:

30 second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 with lens set about 100mm.

Is that attached to a telescope, or just a 100mm lens?


I read it as a 100mm lens, but it's a very significant crop.

So you're saying I can dig that out of one of my shots with my 412mm (35mm equivalent, I think)? Which "star" is the nebula?


Yes, you should be able to. The area of interest is Orion's sword. Actually, the whole constellation is afire with nebulosity, but most of it is far fainter than M42. This image shows the entire Orion region. The belt is at left, and the sword toward upper right. Here is the image in context. Fifty hours of data collection!
04/01/2007 02:20:49 PM · #12
...and I am the son stdavidson mentions. Let me tell you, tracking a huge scorpion in the sky FOREVER really sux, but hey, it makes me popular in the sky, eh?

Very very nice shots of the stars in this thread. I might have to look into trying some myself.

I also have to say that I've noticed the stars more now that I've moved from a major metro area and it is wonderful to see them again on a regular basis.
04/01/2007 02:22:35 PM · #13
Originally posted by kirbic:


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Classic Great Orion Nebula and an incredible example of the quality of images you can get with digital camera equipment and lenses.

This is a spectacular shot and reminds me of the pictures from the famous Palomar Observatory collection of deep space objects.
04/01/2007 02:27:16 PM · #14
Originally posted by fas-ligand:

...and I am the son stdavidson mentions. Let me tell you, tracking a huge scorpion in the sky FOREVER really sux, but hey, it makes me popular in the sky, eh?

I suggest this alternative legend (and the heck with that scorpion -- who wants him around anyway):

I think you and your trusty dog are on a mission to save those seven lovely maidens from that raging bull.
04/01/2007 02:31:05 PM · #15
Originally posted by stdavidson:

I could be wrong, but the "streak" in the lower right corner could be the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) which is nearby the Orion Nebula (M42).

Wrong. ;-)

The horsehead is below Alnitak, the left-most star in the belt. My one and only - so far - attempt to capture the horsehead is in this shot:

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The two bright stars are the first two in the belt, Alnitak and Alnilam. The visible nebula by Alnitak is the Flame Nebula. The Horsehead is just below it, hanging vertically. It's not really visible in this shot unless you have an unusually bright monitor. The Horse takes several stacked long exposures to bring out.

M42, the Orion Neb, is invisible off the bottom edge of this pic.
04/01/2007 02:33:26 PM · #16
I was trying to resist the brag-instinct, but here's my M42:

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04/01/2007 02:55:55 PM · #17
Wow, I'm thrilled to see that my image generated so much interest!

The nebula shots that have been posted are amazing and far exceed what I was able to accomplish.

I have a site saved somewhere that gives instructions for a homemake barn-door tracker, but until I am able to find it and get the pieces, I'll check out the software that was mentioned.

As soon as there's another clear night here, I'm planning on heading out into the country and trying again!
04/01/2007 02:59:21 PM · #18
You astro geeks sure know how to light your subjects and compose them. :P
04/01/2007 07:20:11 PM · #19
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by ElGordo:

30 second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 with lens set about 100mm.

Is that attached to a telescope, or just a 100mm lens?


I used a Sigma 100-300mm zoom lens on a Nikon D50, mounted to a clock driven pedestal that was originally intended for insolation studies. The photo is cropped significantly and also post processed to improve image visibility.
This image did not score well in a DPC challenge because most voters had not the foggiest idea of what was photographed!

Message edited by author 2007-04-01 19:35:12.
04/01/2007 07:27:12 PM · #20
Not really astro-photography, but Orion related:

I was surprised to see it show up in this shot. Oddly enough I noticed the stars will shooting and thought it was strange that they weren't "Light Polluted" out:

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04/01/2007 09:07:33 PM · #21
The CG5 tracking mount mentioned above will set you back about 500US when the correction motor is included. If these suckers didn't cost so much I'd do a little astro photography myself.
04/01/2007 09:20:16 PM · #22
Originally posted by larryslights:

Not really astro-photography, but Orion related:

I was surprised to see it show up in this shot. Oddly enough I noticed the stars will shooting and thought it was strange that they weren't "Light Polluted" out:

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hey cool... i got a shot of orion that same night about 20 miles north of where you took your shot...

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04/01/2007 09:32:06 PM · #23
Originally posted by GeneralE:

That's pretty nice -- I have similar city conditions, but this encourages me to try it myself, before the Hunter disappears from the Summer sky.


Paul, here's a shot I took in December using my S2 IS. You can definitely get good stuff; this wasn't at full zoom, either. This is edited to bring out the stars, but isn't a composite - everything's right where it was in the original.

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04/01/2007 09:53:03 PM · #24
here's mine, shot in feb for the trees challenge...that orion dude sure gets around ;-)

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04/03/2007 12:34:11 AM · #25
Tonight was crystal clear, although the full moon washed out a lot of detail. I played around a little and came up with a few new shots, which are in my portfolio, if anyone wants to look. Here are two of them:
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I am going to try to get shots of all the Northern Hemisphere constellations over the rest of the year, and this is a start. I enjoy the challenge of shooting them, and also of finding them in the sky and learning a bit about them as I go.

Just thought I'd share :-)
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