M42, Orion Nebula
The Great Nebula in Orion, M42


M42, the Great Nebula in Orion, is an emission nebula surrounding the quadruple star Theta Orionis.  It is part of a complex region of interstellar matter at a distance of 1,300 light years.  Light travels at 186,284 miles per second.  In a year, thatís nearly six trillion miles.  A distance of 1,300 light years, therefore, is a distance of 7,642,183,500,000,000 miles - written in words, thatís seven quadrillion, six hundred forty-two trillion, one hundred eighty-three billion, five hundred million miles!

Photo of the Orion nebula by Professor M. R. Franks.  Taken on 27 January 2004 from Professor Franks's front yard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Shot at prime focus with a conventional Ricoh 35 mm camera using as its lens a six-inch (diameter) Celestron refractor telescope on a computer-driven German equatorial mount.  Focal length 1,200 mm (47.24 inches); effective focal ratio f/7.87.  Exposure on Agfa ISO 800 film for 10 minutes, using an LPR (light pollution reduction) filter.

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Photo and web site copyright © 2011, M. R. Franks.  All rights reserved.