M 42* (NGC 1976 LBN 974, Sh2-281) Bright Nebula in Orion

Located at:* RA 05 hours 35 minutes 17 seconds, Dec -05 degrees 23 minutes 30 seconds

Size: 60' Magnitude: 3.0 Class: Emission (Nebula + Cluster) Sharpless: 3 2 3

North is up

West to the right


 14.5" f5 Newtonian reflector


  ST-8XME self-guided, binned 1x1, temp -20c, camera control MaxIm DL 4.56


Lumicon Red filter,  42.3 minutes (254 x 0.167 minute {10 seconds} subs), 02/13/2014; seeing 2.5-3.7 FWHM per CCDStack


CCDStack 2.76.5115.24309, Photoshop CS5.1


 Rolling Roof Observatory, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 (+34d 13m 29s -118h 52m 20s)

Notes:* Since the full extent of M 42 is much larger than my field of view, I tried to capture details in the Trapezium region ... Using the same procedures as the high surface-brightness Planetary Nebula I have been imaging, I took 300 10-second subs (used the best 254). M 43 (a detached portion of the 'cloud'), is at the top left-center.

From the NGC / IC Project:

Contemporary Visual Observation(s) for NGC 1976
NGC 1976 = M42 = LBN 974 = Ced 55d = Orion Nebula
05 35 17.1 -05 23 27
V = 4.0;  Size 66x60

17.5": best emission nebula in northern sky, fantastic view under all 
conditions, bright colored wings sweep to the east and south.  The remarkable 
structure is difficult to describe but includes bays, filaments, knots, nebulous 
stars and a huge outer loop.  Definite colors are visible including pale greens 
and pinks.  Highlighted by the Trapezium which contains six stars and appears to 
reside in a darker hollow.  The bright portion surrounding Theta probably has 
the highest surface brightness of any HII region in the sky with an "electric" 
appearance.  Dark streaks and a dark wedge = "fish's mouth" intrudes on the NE 
side.  Using an H-Beta filter, the nebulosity significantly dims in general but 
there is one outer wing or loop on the W side (oriented N-S) which obviously 
increases in contrast with the filter!

- by Steve Gottlieb
Historical Research Notes / Correction for NGC 1976
NGC 1976 = M 42.  I have adopted the position of the Trapezium as the position
of M42.  This helps us avoid the problem of trying to decide on a geometric 
center for the nebula.  

See also NGC 1982 = M 43 and IC 429 for other notes about the Orion Nebula and
the large, complex region of star formation around it.
 - Dr. Harold G. Corwin, Jr.