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M42 from Mound Ewer

Submitter: Rik ter Horst
Description: This image of the central part of M42, also known as the Trapezium, was taken on February 8 this year with my 40 cm F/5 telescope from my yard on 'Mount Ewer', a 3-meter high terp (mound) in the north-east of Groningen.

The picture is the sum of 500 exposures of 1.4 second each, captured with a DMK31 monochrome camera. Each frame was checked for image quality using Registax. Only 5 frames (1%) were rejected due to elongated star images. The rest has been added together after correcting for position shift. Further processing was done using Photoshop, mainly its "unsharp-mask" techniques.

The atmospheric seeing was far from perfect: The star images have a FWHM of as much as 1.6 arcsecond. Shorter exposures under the same conditions might have resulted in smaller star images, albeit at the cost of a considerably fainter nebula.

Comparing the image with the famous Hubble image, one can even identify some areas where stars and solar systems are being formed.
Copyright: Rik ter Horst
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