After a seemingly endless string of cloudy nights, Santa delivered a clear moonless night on Christmas! This may have been
the old boy's plan, saving the splendor of Orion's Sword as "first light" for the Astro-Physics Traveler he delivered earlier.
The prismatic flaring around the brighter stars and their bloated appearance was caused by the interplay of reflections from
the brightly chromed end of a T-mount camera adapter and the surface of a nearby optical reducer (Arrrghhh!) The situation
was later remedied by scruffing up the barrel end with Crocus cloth and applying a coat of flat black Krylon to the offending
surface. Go figure... the adapter's manufacturer designed it with micro baffles AND the internal surface was flat black, but the
end was left gleaming chrome?!? In fairness though, this was not noticed in previous sessions... perhaps since no upstream
optical surfaces were nearby, the light simply scattered undetected.
Taken with a Canon 10D DSLR through a 105mm AP Traveler operating at f/4.5. Ten 5 minute ISO200, five 5 minute ISO100,
and five 1 minute ISO100 images were combined and processed using Images Plus and Adobe PhotoShop. Focusing was
accomplished via a 3-holed (Hartmann) mask and Liquid Fusion DSLR Focus.
To view this image in larger scale (1200x800 - 40% of the original size) click here: Larger Scale Image. To view last year's M42
image (Canon D60 and 8" Mak-Newt) click here: M42 2002.
A cropped close-up of NGC 1973-75-77 (the nebulous region seen on the left), is shown below. Dubbed the "Running Man",
this region consists of reflection (Blue) and emission (Red) components. North is to the left in the upper image and at the top
of the lower image.