Everyone knows the Belt of Orion, but only the camera reveals the wealth of colours that surround it.
I shot this Friday night, February 8, under very clear sky conditions.
While I used a telescope, it had a short enough focal length, about 480mm, that the field took in all three stars in the Belt: from left to right, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. All are hot blue stars embedded in colourful clouds. The most famous is the Horsehead Nebula, running down from Alnitak at left. Above the star is the salmon-coloured Flame Nebula. All manner of bits of blue and cyan nebulas dot the field, their colour coming from the blue starlight the dust reflects.
Dimmer dust clouds more removed from nearby stars glow with browns and yellows. At left, a large swath of sky is obscured by gas and dust simmering in dull red. The entire field is peppered with young blue stars.
It is certainly one of the most vibrant regions of sky, though only long exposures and image processing bring out the colours.
This is another test shot with a new Canon 6D that has had its sensor filter modified to transmit more of the deep red light of these types of nebulas. The camera works very well indeed!
– Alan, February 8, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer