The Great Orion nebula

Original plate printed without (left) and with an unsharp mask
Plate taken in red light with the UK Schmidt Telescope

The region around the Orion nebula is one of the most spectacular in the sky. It was the first nebula to be photographed, in the early 1880s, and it retains its interest and challenge for astronomical photographers. The inner parts of the nebula are visible to the unaided eye, while the outer parts are quite faint and the whole nebula is full of intricate detail.

A direct print (left) shows no detail in the brightest parts of the nebula, while the effect of the photographic (analogue) unsharp mask on the same original plate is seen at left.

We also have a colour version of this field as well as more detailed AAT images:
AAT 19a (with unsharp mask
AAT 19b (without unsharp mask)

David Malin 2006 Jan 27