Notes about the nebula photo
David's note about this photo is worth sharing in full:
On clear dark nights, my neighbors tell me, with some amusement, that they have seen an older guy wheeling a telescope down the street near our house. In fact, that is how I get the scope to our back yard. It opens onto Fuente de Paz. The purpose is to take photos of "deep sky objects," including this one from January 25, 2019. I am really pleased with how this came out.
If there are other RM folks with a somewhat serious interest in astronomy or astrophotography, I hope that they will drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As nights warm up, it would be fun to have a local "star party."
This is Messier 42 (M42), the famous Orion Nebula, an emission-reflection nebula. It can be seen as a faint, tiny smudge in the string of stars that drops just below Orion's Belt. It is the brightest nebula in the sky and only visible this time of year. It lies 1,334 light years away and is the nearest stellar nursery to Earth. Next to it is a nebula called, of course, "the Running Man."
This gem is huge! It has a mass 2,000 times our sun. If you got into your car on one side of it and lead-footed it at 186,000 miles per second (speed of light), non-stop for 24 years, you would barely get to the other side! It contains an association of very young stars, reflected gas, ionized gas and neutral clouds of dust and gas. My picture was taken with a102mm (4") refractor telescope (mounted on wheels) and dedicated CMOS camera. 40 minutes of exposure time. The actual photo is 15 MB, too large to mail.
David A. Scharlach