top of page

Messier 42 Orion Nebula

Messier 42 is a diffuse and luminous object located in the constellation of Orion, visible to the naked eye from Earth. This celestial body is commonly known as the Orion Nebula and is one of the brightest nebulae in the night sky. Its striking colors are due to the presence of ionized gases, which emit light at different wavelengths. The nebula contains a young cluster of stars, including some of the hottest and most massive stars known to science. It is estimated to be about 24 light-years across and is located approximately 1,344 light-years away from Earth. The Orion Nebula is a popular target for amateur astronomers and a valuable source of scientific research for professional astronomers.

​Also known as Messier 42 (M42), the Orion Nebula spans about 24 light-years across and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The nebula is situated in the Milky Way some 1,350 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Orion, the hunter, and it can be seen with the naked eye south of Orion's belt

The brightest central part of the nebula is called the "Huygenian region" (named after the 17th-century astronomer Christiaan Huygens). To its left is a dark nebulosity nicknamed the "Fish's Mouth," which separates M43 — another smaller nebula adjacent to M42 on the left side of this image — from the brighter region of M42. Along the outside edges of the cloud formation, we can also find the so-called "wings" of Orion. Shining at the heart of the Orion Nebula is the Trapezium star cluster, named after the four bright stars it contains. 

The Orion Nebula gets its reddish hue from hydrogen gas, which is energized by radiation from newborn stars. While the red areas are emitting light, the blue-violet regions in the nebula are reflecting radiation from hot, blue-white O-type stars.

On the left of this image lies the Running Man Nebula (NGC 1977) vaguely resembles a colorful space ghost sprinting through the stars in the Orion constellation

This image was taken under light polluted skies of Singapore.

Individual channels were collected via dedicated astronomical camera and combined with special software to form a complete "true colour" RGB image.


Red: Hydrogen Alpha

Green: Oxygen III

Blue: Oxygen III

Total Imaging Time: 7 hours over 8 nights

Camera: QHYCCD 183 (Mono)

Lens/Scope: William Optics Zenithstar 61

Mount: Explore Scientific iEXOS-100

*This image appeared in The Amateur Astrophotography Magazine's Image Of The Day



bottom of page