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The Alnitak Region in Orion by octane2 The Alnitak Region in Orion by octane2
Full view for maximum effect.

The Alnitak Region in Orion.

This image has taken me since November 12th to finalise, working on it on-and-off. Without a doubt, this has been the most challenging composition as far as capturing (four hours of raw data) and processing is concerned. My right hand is completely stuffed from all the post-processing. I've now resorted to using the mouse with my left hand at work to compensate. I know, I'll probably just end up with two sore arms and a sore back, but, it's all about equilibrium.

I lost all my raw data for every single astrophotograph I've taken. Altogether, about 20 GB of data. Gone. I transferred the data to my housemate's notebook temporarily as I needed the room to process another image. Three days later, his hard drive decided to die of mechanical failure. So, to all those people who requested prints and other products, I'm sorry, all that is for sale is what you will find on my prints page. I'm still coming to terms with my loss.

As for this image:

The bright star to the left is Alnitak, which dominates this region. Alnitak (Zeta Orionis) is located about 830 light years away from our own Sun. It is the southeast most star in Orion's Belt. It has a visual magnitude of 1.7 and an absolute magnitute of -5.3.

The orange nebula in the bottom left is called, for obvious reasons, the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024 or Orion B). NGC 2024 is an emission nebula which is being excited by Alnitak. The closeness of Alnitak makes the nebula hard to see through a telescope. However, with a reasonable aperture and moderate magnification, if you keep Alnitak out of the field of view, you're able to see a soft glow with a prominent dark vein running North to South.

To the right of NGC 2024 is NGC 2023, a dark nebula.

I think everyone knows what the centrepiece is in this image. If in doubt, it's the Horsehead Nebula. The Horsehead Nebula is also referred to as B33, and is a reflection nebula.

The beautiful shroud of pink above the Horsehead Nebula is IC434, an emission nebula.

To the top right is Sigma Orionis, a main sequence star. Surrounding it is an open cluster referred to as SigmaOri.

North is left.

This composite consists of one set of images; one set of 40 images taken at ISO-400..
Each individual image was a 300 second exposure.
IRIS was used to calibrate each image (dark subtraction [median combined master dark] and flat field division [median combined master flat {lights and darks}]), to register, align, and finally stack.
Photoshop CS2 was used to adjust levels, curves, frame and resize the final composite.

Target: The Alnitak Region in Orion
Date: Sunday, November 12th, 2007
Time: First image: 12:28 AM
Time: Last image: 04:33 AM
Location: Lake Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Camera: Canon EOS-350D (modified: Baader UV/IR filter)
Telescope: Meade SN10 10" F/4.0
Focal length: 1016mm
Mount: Losmandy HGM-200
Exposure: 48 x 300 seconds (4 hours) @ ISO-400 (RAW)
Software: IRIS: Calibration, registration, stacking; Adobe Photoshop CS2: post-processing and framing
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Raqalien Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Spectacular. Clap 
Altair75 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2015   Photographer
Truly beautiful! Great work. :D (Big Grin) 
PhilS1761 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
amazing how you can obtain results almost as good as the Hubble and other orbiting telescopes. I salute you for the work obviously involved. Well done. 
Pronus Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
It always amazes me how astro shots can be so fabulously different from one another. You're taking the exact same piece of the sky from the exact same angle as everyone else. Anyway this is one of the best of Orion I've seen so well done for really great shot.
Wasserminze Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012
Wow! Awesome!
Tazunee Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
12GSuper Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011
I'm sorry about your loss mate, but dang this shot was worth the time you spent on it.

Gorgeous composition and wonderously vibrant colours. Epic :)
MatthewPaver Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
absolutely mind blowing
octane2 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2011  Professional Photographer


This is a very old image. I am going to do re-image this object hopefully this year and do it proper justice (I've got all new equipment since that shot was taken).

CapturingTheNight Featured By Owner May 26, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
This brilliant photo has been featured in my latest journal [link] :D
Puuronen Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2011  Professional General Artist
Fantastic! Itīs amazing you can actually capture something like this from the earth with a camera. Great job!
LeashaAHooker Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011   Photographer
Absolutely amazing! :faint:
octane2 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011  Professional Photographer

Thank you. :)

I think my latest effort trumps this one, though -- you might like to check it out.


bp2007 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Featured here: [link]
octane2 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011  Professional Photographer

Thank you, myf riend.

bp2007 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011
You are welcome.
Pajunen Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
Just awesome! :wow:
PoetKanna Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011
love it!
saphoto Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2010
IDK If anyone has talked about the laptop failure, but did the computer crash, or did the hard drive crash? Even if the hard drive crashed, the data can potentially be recovered.
gregR Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Your astro-photo shots are incredible.

And special thanks for sharing so much details on gear, method and stars themselves, very rare and extremely appreciated.
Cosmic-Cherry-Tree Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful...featured here [link] :floating:
Olorin-The-Grey Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010
Just wow
Traumia Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010  Professional Photographer
Must have been a great challenge, just breathtaking x
dominique-merot Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2010
Very impressive...
CorazondeDios Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2010
edensart Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010
i love ur photos. im sorry you lost your data, but im sure you realise that most data can be rescued ! i do not wish to sound condesending, since i do not know if you know, if not with recovery software, there are hardware specialist who take apart the drive and recover everything. it just costs money. i hope you do recover everything, as your photography is amazing and its a real shame to let all that hard work go to the ether. i wish you luck.
irrationalrationale Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2010
This might be my favorite of favorites.
eyesweb1 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
amazing amazing amazing shooooooooooot woooooooooooooooooooooooooooow
Lotay Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
All your shots are just amazing, wow.
trollek Featured By Owner May 9, 2010
f`n hell!
HawkEagleWolf Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2010  Professional Photographer
O.o Just stunning, all that effort was worth it.
Raevinfire Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2010
So much time invested, but you got a beautiful image....glad you didn't just give up!
karolvig Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2010
BetaAquilae Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I thought the brightest one was Alnitak without seeing the name of the photo. :)
Grumzz Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
:S I feel sorry to hear about your data loss!! :(

I think I have stored most of my photographs (even if they are sucky) on like 3 different places (yay 1 TB hard drive <3) and I still feel scared about losing it.. about 5 years of photos :p

this photo is just stunning, I've been interested in astrology since I was a kid (ok, I'm just 19 now so it's not that long ago) and I have a telescope at my parents home..

I was wondering one thing when I saw this photo (I immediately recognised the horsehead nebula of course ;) no doubt about that); how did you manage to take this without getting those star trails (you know, when the earth rotates, the stars 'blur')
FAceleSS-21 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2010
Sorry to hear of your loss :( I know how that goes... But this is truly an amazing piece of work! I am super interested in getting a telescope and spare DSLR for doing astrophotography, and this shot makes me even more excited!
MrWitchblade Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2010
I have yet to get my adaptor for my meade scope, but I'm hoping to have it some time this year.

Love the pic :)
KC-L Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2010
I just had to show this to my boyfriend, who wants to get into this type of photography. This is so amazing! I'm so glad we were able to see it!
the-arkz Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2010
totally crazy dude ;)
Ssaijon Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2010
Wow...just wow! :heart: Simply breathtaking photo, I love your astrophotography!
I canīt believe how you can take such brilliant photos by night!
danUK86 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010   General Artist
fantastic :)
Sky-Iz-Pink Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010
Wow this is impressing. Really nice :)
aniabeata Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
that's amazing
octane2 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010  Professional Photographer
Cześć Ania,

Dziękuję, bardzo.

Hopefully my Polski is OK! It's been many years since I studied it. I learnt a lot just by listening and singing along to Myslovitz. It's a difficult (but beautiful) language to learn. Poland is also very beautiful. I was lucky enough to spend a few days there a couple of years ago, in just Warszawa and Kraków. I look forward to going back sometime in the future.

If you like that image, I have more in my gallery.


aniabeata Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Cześć :)

I'm glad you like Poland, you should come back some day and visit Zakopane, it is so amazing place. I have never been in Australia it is so away... it has to bee beautiful there too.

octane2 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010  Professional Photographer

I promise I will. I want to come back and re-visit Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Australia is very beautiful. But, not as green as Eastern Europe.

I also think New Zealand is the most beautiful place on Earth. It's simply stunning -- like heaven on Earth. I'm going back there in April and in November for more photography.

shade19900 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010
Beautiful :)
FlyingMantaRay Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010
Great job! Someday I'll buy a fancy telescope myself, but there's just so much to learn about it, I'll have to make proper preparations before I'll buy one I guess...
Violet-Kleinert Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2010   Photographer
Amazing! Excellent post processing.
Tourdumondiste Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
This is the reason why I always wanted to be an Astronom when I was a kid, I love this shot.
I'd love to learn to do what you do.
I'd like to ask you a couple of question if I may.
* Why can't you use 40 times 1 shot of 30 secondes?
* Where can I find some decent tutorials about astrophotography (that includes, buy gear, etc...)?
* What do you mean by "modified" Camera?
Thank you for behing bringing life to my dreams.
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Submitted on
November 22, 2007
Image Size
875 KB


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