Reflection nebula in Orion

Messier 78 is located about 2 degrees northeast of Zeta Orionis, the leftmost of the three stars in Orion's belt. Through a telescope, it appears as a roughly circular patch that envelopes a pair of stars. Also visible are two other reflection nebulae, NGC 2071 above Messier 78, and the small and dim NGC 2064 to its lower right.

It was a windy March evening when I took a series of exposures of this field, and about half of the images were ruined because the telescope was buffeted by the wind. I was fortunate to salvage enough steady exposures to obtain a decent final picture.

Image details:  11 exposures, each 150 seconds at ISO 1600, taken with a Canon 400D camera through a Meade 12” telescope at f/5.4.

March 2009