Supposed to be an “easy” target for astrophotographers, M42 the Orion Nebula has somehow always passed me by. I set out to remedy that in February, and have just finished processing this shot.
The dynamic range of the photo is huge. The central core is visible to the naked eye, with four stars “The Trapezium” at its centre. They burn out completely on a long-exposure shot, so the technique is to take several different exposures and blend them together.
Pixinsight has a process for this – HDRComposition – and I used it to combine a stack of 5-minute exposes for the outer reaches with a stack of 10-second exposures for the centre. The very centre is still overexposed, so this should really be seen as a work in progress.
I also used Pixinsight’s Photometric ColourCalibration process to match the colours in the photo to the “official” colours in the star catalogues. I might have oversaturated the final version a little, but there will be another to follow later.