Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Great Orion Nebula

Without a doubt almost any observer will tell you that the Great Orion Nebula is the finest deep sky object in the northern hemisphere.  Riding high in the winter and spring, I take a glance at this showpiece just about every time I am in the observatory.  It is so detailed and rich that I have been hesitant to attempt to sketch it...however, I finally decided to give it a try.

While I have done most of my sketching with HB graphite pencils on plain white paper, I have been experimenting utilizing Strathmore Black Artagain paper with Generals White Charcoal Pencils (558) left is the sketch that I completed this evening with my LX-200 12 inch SCT and 28mm UWAN eyepiece (108X). It does not do justice to the nebula, but it certainly is good practice with these new materials.

What does this nebula look like in color?  Below is an image taken from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter through our new Televue NP127is.  The image gives a significantly wider, lower power field of view...and it represents 3 hours of exposure time.
Copyright Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona


  1. Nice sketch, Alan. So let me get this right: You saw six components in the Trapezium with your 12"?
    I remember having seen them a couple of times, but they require really good seeing - which very often is not the case in central Europe.
    Wish, I was back in Tucson for some while...


  2. Christian- yes, with the 12" I can frequently see the 6 trapezium stars without difficulty. The desert air helps quite a bit!