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A winter astronomical wonder

While going through some image files that have been sitting on my virtual work bench, I came across one I took in January this year. Winter nights in the northern hemisphere can be cold but they bring with them the opportunity to view what is possibly the most beautiful object to look at in the night sky: The Orion Nebula. The nebula itself is the closest massive star forming nebula to Earth. It has a bright group of stars at its centre, called the Trapezium, and looks, to me, like a moth or bird spreading its wings. The nebula is easy to locate, it looks like a fuzzy smudge just below the centre star in Orion's Belt. It looks great when looking through even small aperture telescopes but looks best through larger telescopes. It also makes a great first time astrophotography target since it is a very bright object.


This image was taken through the eyepiece of the telescope with my phone (Google Pixel 4a) using its night photography mode (but not the astrophotography mode).

Orion nebula as seen by my phone camera with minimal processing.

Orion nebula image with extra colour processing and sharpening.

The phone was held in place using a smartphone adapter (https://www.ontariotelescope.com/nexyz-dx-smartphone-adapter-kit.html). My telescope is a 10" Mead Lightbridge Dobsonian. The phone did a great job processing the image on its own but I wound up saving the RAW sensor files and processed them myself to get the above results. If you ever get the chance to view the night sky through a telescope, and Orion is in the sky, it is definitely a must view object.

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