Flintstone Stargazing

February 23, 2008

M42-Great Orion Nebula on 2/23/08

M42-Great Orion Nebula on 2/23/08

I’ve imaged the Orion Nebula a very large number of times, particularly with my DSI cameras. I hadn’t had access to the Nikon D50 DSLR camera for a while (it belongs to my office) and so I had never used the camera on deep sky objects before. I also had not (until the eclipse) used it on my new telescope, the LXD75. I knew it would have a broader field of view, but how much broader, I really had no idea until I tried it. I took a several guided (using my Meade 70AZ-A as a guide scope with my DSI) 2 minute images of the Orion Nebula and then stacked them in DeepSkyStacker. I was extremely pleased with the result, particularly since this only represents 6 images. Normally I stack many more than that to get more detail. I need to try this camera out on some other objects to see what it’s capable of, but if it holds up, I may wind up selling my DSI II and buying a DSLR just for astrophotography. This is the best image of M42 I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to take more.

Unfortunately, while taking some image of M45-The Pleiades, I realized that while I had brought my dew shield out to the telescope, I’d never put it on and the scope was starting to frost over. I guess further imaging will have to wait until another night.

Update: I reprocessed the image, this time, using flat frames, dark frames and bias frames (technical stuff that help me get a better image). I focused on just the main nebula and worked to bring out the detail and this was the result:

M42-Great Orion Nebula (reprocessed) on 2/23/08
A reprocessed, cropped version of the above M42 image

There’s a lot more detail there and I believe that if I can get a few more long exposures, I should have a really, really nice image.



  1. Nice. What ASA settings did you use? Did you turn on noise reduction on your D50? Did you take any darks before you processed them in DeepSkyStacker?


    Comment by Pierre — February 24, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

  2. I was using ISO 200 and I didn’t change the default settings on the D50, so I’m pretty sure it did some noise reduction. For the image at the bottom, I used dark, bias and flat frames. I think I need to do new flat frames because they didn’t completely eliminate the vignetting, but overall it was much easier to get detail out of than without the flat frames.

    Comment by Ed — February 25, 2008 @ 8:57 am

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