AstroTrac Widefield & Deep Sky Images

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

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Orion - Barnard's Loop - Sh2-264



Orion is one of the most recognizable constellations of the winter sky.  The red-giant Betelgeuse shines yellow/orange in the upper left of the photo, and blue/white Rigel is at the bottom right.  Between these two stars are three bright 2nd magnitude stars in a row (Alnitak, Alnilam, & Mintaka) that make up Orion's belt.  Below and just to the left of the belt is a large star forming region containing M42, the Great Orion Nebula, surrounding the center star in Orion's sword.  Just above M42 is the nebulous region containing the Horsehead Nebula, B33 and the Flame Nebula, NGC 2024 near the star Alnitak.

The largest emission nebula in the photo is Barnard's Loop, seen as a semi-circle around the belt and sword or Orion.  The next largest nebula is SH2-264 surrounding the star Meissa above and to the right of Betelgeuse.  Stars shapes and colors are somewhat diffused and enhanced by the use of a special fog filter.


  • Date & Location:  February 3, 2011 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind - 16F.  Dew point 10F

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with average transparency. 

  • Optics:  Canon 16-35mm f2.8 set to 35mm f3.5.

  • Filter:  Tiffen Double Fog 3

  • Mount:  AstroTrac TT320X-AG

  • Guiding:  None

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  35 minutes (mostly 2 & 3 minute exposures) @ ISO 1600, RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  No calibration frames used - sub freezing temperatures

  • Processing:  Images Plus 3.82b, Photoshop CS4, NIK, RC-Astro 

  • Comments:   Clear skies and a New Moon were somewhat offset by additional light pollution caused by a fresh snow pack reflecting light back into the atmosphere.  I'd like to make another attempt in the future from a darker sky and when there is no snow on the ground.  



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors