The Belt of Orion

Posted by azindarkskies
on Friday, December 28, 2012

The image shows the three stars in Orion's Belt.  Beginning in the bottom left and moving diagonally to the upper right they are; respectively, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. The identification of the three stars as a belt is a very old one. The Arabic names of two of the stars reflect this: Mintaka means 'the belt' and Alnitak means 'the girdle'. The name of the third star, Alnilam, means 'the string of pearls'.  The distance is approximately 1300 light years. Also depicted in the image is Barnard 33 (The Horsehead Nebula), IC 434 (the brilliant cloud behind B33), NGC 2024(The Flaming Tree Nebula), and  NGC 2023 (The Lump Star). This image was taken using a Takahashi FSQ106ED refractor telescope @F/5 and an FLI Microline 16803 CCD camera.  It is a composite of images using Ha, Olll, and Sll narrowband filters and represents over 17 hours of integration time.  Off Axis Guiding is provided by a Starlight Xpress Lodestar and an Astrodon MOAG. The mounting is an Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO.  

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