A wide view of Orion

William Ostling, taken from northwest Connecticut

The heart of the massive star-forming region in Orion contains what the photographer calls “contrasting vistas.” At left of this mosaic lies the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) and the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33), which are characterized by dark clouds in front of glowing emission nebulae. At right is the famed Orion Nebula (M42). The image was taken with a Nikon D800 over 62 hours of exposure — 1,240 frames of 180 seconds each at ISO 800 with a 600mm lens at f/4. The imager adds: “I was struck by how much wispy H-alpha gas didn’t line up exactly with the dust in the region – it was very cool to see the differences in ionized and non-ionized gas.”