Orion Nebula M42 / M43
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Scope: C8 at f/3 Location: Del Mar, CA, 12/18/2003 Camera: ToUcam SC3

Exposure: 10 x 60 sec H-Alpha exposure. 20 x 12 sec exposures with IR Block filter.15 x 15 sec each RGB exposures. Four Frame Mosaic. Also, the core section was also exposed at 20 x 4 sec and 30 x 1 sec with IR block for use in de-saturating the core area.

Processing: Captured and stacked in K3CCDTools with HA, IR,,R,G,B saved as FITs. HA, IR,RGB masters were co-registered in Astroart. Some Lowpass filtering was applied on all channels. HA and IR were combined for Luminance the HA mainly served to help improve contrast. Since the core was heavily saturated, the 4 sec and 1 sec exposures were normal combined with mask to the main 12 sec exposure. This was the best I could do to de-saturate the core.  These combinations and LRGB combine were done in Photoshop. Luminance Layering was used. Each quadrant of the mosaic was color balanced in Photoshop and background smoothed with SGBNR.. The well known "Ear" artifacts typical with webcams were removed with Loreal. Final mosaic joining and touch up in Photoshop.

This image was taken in my light polluted neighborhood in Del Mar and I was generally pleased with the result. The star field appears fairly sparse, Im not sure why other than the Nebula itself could be blocking a lot of background stars.  Horizontal FOV is about 50'

 

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