After watching a few episodes of "The Universe" on Netflix a few days ago, I decided to lug my telescope downstairs and take a look at the night sky, something I have neglected for some time. I realized that I missed the quiet, cold nights...my eye "wandering" among the familiar constellations and planets.
I had a quick look at Jupiter and realized that the "seeing" conditions weren't all that great. I swung the scope around to the constellation Orion and took a look at a few of the stars, as well as the Orion Nebula under the left side of Orion's Belt. I could make out the four stars of the "Trapezium" within the blurry, gas cloud that makes up the nebula.
I called it a night and before I went inside, I took another look at Orion. It is such a large and easily recognizable constellation...it literally dominates the winter sky! I decided that the next night, I would dust off my Astrophotography skills and grab a decent shot of Orion.
Tonight, I went outside a bit after 8 PM and spent about 15 minutes capturing the necessary "Light Frames", "Dark Frames" etc., (Technical mumbo jumbo...it is not hard to do) that would combine to produce the finished photo of Orion. After some "stacking" and processing, the photo below was the result. You can even see the reddish star "Betelgeuse" (pronounced Beetle Juice) at the top left shoulder of Orion!
Constellation Orion: Canon XS, 17-135mm, F5.6, eight 5 sec exposures stacked
Next time you are outside on a clear night, Take a look up and to the south/southwest and see if you can spot the mighty Orion!