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Thread: Observing M42- Orion Nebula

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    Default Observing M42- Orion Nebula



    Hello,
    I have been wanting to observe the Orion Nebula for a while after I saw Venus- and I also have heard a lot about it from many people on the forum. So, I was wondering- Since I am in Wisconsin, I know that I can see Orion and the Nebula during the winter as it is always above my house right next to the moon... so, will I be able to see it in the summer and spring? please let me know

    P.S. i'm pretty sure that my current longitude is about 88 degrees, if that means something
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    Default Re: Observing M42- Orion Nebula

    The good news is the moon will move. The house (hopefully) will stay put.

    Orion is a winter constellation though it will be around until the Spring.

    Patience
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    Default Re: Observing M42- Orion Nebula

    Early to late spring yes, summer, not a chance unless you are referring to summer in the southern hemisphere.
    Scott, My Messier Count: 108

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    Default Re: Observing M42- Orion Nebula

    Every day, things in the night sky slip a little more westward. Along about May, Orion will be sinking into the the west as it gets dark, and a couple of weeks after that, gone for the season.

    Then along about August, if you happen to be out early on a clear dark morning, you'll see him again rising up in the east like the return of an old friend.

    The constellations are cyclic, and each season brings something new to explore, or the opportunity to re-enjoy your favorites from seasons past.

    A fun thing to do, especially on a cloudy night, is to open Stellarium (www.stellarium.org) on your computer (if you don't have it yet, get it). As long as you have your home location set, just run the time forward to a date of your choice (or simply fast forward and watch the sky motion) and then you'll get a good feel for what is available any time you want.
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    Default Re: Observing M42- Orion Nebula

    Orion is amazing to look at through the eyepiece. Sadly it is a winter, early spring deep sky object.
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    Default Re: Observing M42- Orion Nebula

    Thanks, good to know!

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    Default Re: Observing M42- Orion Nebula

    Astroguy,

    Not knowing what scope you have, here's a few sketch's I've done of M42 using three different scopes.

    1, Using a 2" refractor from my home in Sydney. A surprising amount of detail can be seen with a such a small scope. Particularly "The Fish Mount" which is the easiest dark pillar to view in the whole sky. What's a dark pillar? To fully understand this, you really should understand what is going on in M42. I'll detail this after the third sketch below.



    2, Using an 8" f/4 Newtonian from my home in Sydney. Here a lot more detail and extension of the nebula can be seen.



    3, Using a 17.5" scope from a dark sky site. Now we are able to make out much of the fine filigree of the streamers of material, even a 3D appearance from the Fish Mouth.



    M42 is glowing due to the power of the massive and brand new stars that form the cluster called The Trapezium. These brand new stars are blowing away the material that they were formed from, so what we are seeing is effectively a cosmic bubble that surrounds the cluster. The Fish Mouth dark pillar actually points towards the Trapezium. It is resisting the erosive power of the Trapezium. There must be something really big inside the dark pillar to be able to hold this puff of dust and gas. The only thing that can have such a strong gravitational hold on this gas and dust and not be glowing are protostars! Stars that are in the process of forming and have not just yet kicked off their nuclear fire! Dark pillars, and Bok Globuals, are the visual evidence of how stars begin their life cycle. While we cannot see directly into these dark pillars, the Hubble Space Telescope can pear into these as the HST can see in the infrared spectrum, and these protostar though not having started their nuclear fires, they are very hot from the massive compression and friction that occurs as stars form.

    So when we look at M42, we are seeing stars that are brand spanking new, the material they were formed from, and the cocoon of material that surrounds stars that are soon to kick of their fires! Pretty marvellous stuff I reckon!

    Alex.
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    http://alexanderastrosketching.blogspot.com.au/ - My astro sketching blog site


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