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Great Orion Nebula

NGC 1976, Ced 55d, LBN 974, LBN 209.13-19.35, Orion A, Messier 42, Great Orion Nebula, h 360, GC 1179

RA: 05h 35m 17.3s
Dec: −05° 23′ 28″

Con: Orion
Ch: MSA:278, U2:225, SA:11


(reference key)

Type: bright nebula (HII region), n

Mag: B=?, V=5

Size: 47′
PA: ?

Image gallery

Sketches  (7)

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Photos  (23)

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History and Accurate Positions for the NGC/IC Objects (Corwin 2004)

NGC 1976 = M 42. I have adopted the position of the Trapezium as the position of M42. This helps us avoid the problem of trying to decide on a geometric center for the nebula.

See also NGC 1982 = M 43 and IC 429 for other notes about the Orion Nebula and the large, complex region of star formation around it.


This nebula is one of the most dramatic and best known nebulae in the sky. It lies in the Sword of Orion, surrounding the multiple star Theta Orionis, which illuminates (ionizes) it. M42 is the nearest emission nebula to Earth, lying about 500 parsecs away. To the naked eye it appears as a luminous patch, about the size of the Moon. As seen through a telescope, its green tint is obvious to most, while some have even glimpsed red and pink areas.

Also see:

"The Visual Orion Nebula" in Astronomical Scrapbook, Sky&Telescope, November 1975, p299.

Harrison, T.G. (1984) The Orion nebula: Where in history is it? Q.J.R.A.S., 25(1), 65.

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

William Herschel observed it in 1784 with his newly completed 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He wrote of "the beautiful Nebula of Orion. Its extent is much above one degree; the eastern branch passes between two very small stars, and runs on till it meets a very bright one. Close to the four small stars, which can have no connection with the nebula, is a total blackness; and within the open part, towards the north-east, is a distinct small faint nebula, of an extended shape, at a distance from the border of the great one, to which it runs in a parallel direction, resembling the shoals that are seen near the coasts of some islands." In the Appendix to the 1912 'Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel' this object is described as "1774, March 1, 20 feet telescope, observed the Lucid Spot in Orion's sword belt; but the air not being very clear, it appeared not distinct. 1774, March 4, saw the lucid spot in Orion's sword thro' a 5.5 foot reflector; its shape was not as Dr Smith has delineated in his Optics; tho' something resembling it, being nearly as follows [Plate III. fig. 37]. From this we may infer that there are undoubtedly chnages among the fixt stars, and perhaps from a careful observation of this spot something might be concluded concerning the nature of it. . . . 1780, February 19. Exactly as described on October 7, 1779 . . . 1780, November 24. The Nebula in Orion is very fine indeed. I perceive not the least alteration . . . 1783, January 31, Theta Orionis. The Nebula is quite different from what it was last year. The 9th star very strong. 1783, September 20, the Neb. in Orion has evidently changed its shape since I saw it last. The star under the nebula is nebulous, 20ft, 200 power. 1783, September 28, Surprising changes in the Nebula Orionis. 1783, November 3. The Nebula in Orion is beautiful, and I see several circumstances which I never observed with other instruments, viz. just close to the four stars it is totally black for a very short space, a few seconds. Below, in the open black part is a small distinct nebula of an extended shape [This is III.1, an appendage to Messier 43]. The eastern branch of the great nebula extends very far; it passes between two very small stars and runs on so far as to meet a pretty bright star. The nebulous star below the nebula is not equally surrounded, but most towards the south; on the north of this lesser nebula it is joined by one still fainter, which makes a rectangular corner by its meeting the small nebula . . . 1784, October 16 .. My small neb. is just under the south following corner of the great one. The 43d is not a nebulous star, the star not being at all in the centre of it; my little one makes a part of it. It is altogether the most wonderful object in the heavens . . . 1810, February 4, Review. 10 feet., The nebulosity is entirely of the milky kind and extends a great way. The 43d is not a nebulous star, but a star which happends to be situated in a place where some of the milky nebulosity of the great nebula happens to be. The star is not central, nor is there any condensation towards the star.

John Herschel

John Herschel, observing with his 18-inch reflector in the mid-1800's, likened it to a "surface strewn with flocks of wool - or like the breaking up of a mackerel sky."

Lassell, W. (1854)

Lassell, W. (1854) Observations of the nebula of Orion, made at Valletta, with the twenty-foot equatorial. Memoirs R.A.S., 23, 53-62.

Published comments

Pickering, E.C. (1890)

Detection of new nebulae by photography. Annals Harv Coll Obs., 18, 113. Bibcode: [1890AnHar..18..113P]

Photographs taken with the Bache telescope, a photographic 8-inch f/5.5 doublet, covering 10 degrees square, were examined by Mrs M Fleming with a magnifying glass.

Table 1: List of nebulae (p115)

No. 12 "The Great Nebula in Orion, Dreyer 1976. With the sensitive plates and large aperture of the instrument here employed, the central portion of this nebula is burnt out with an exposure of an hour over a region about -1m in right ascension and 15' in declination. ...."

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"!!! nebula, irregular, diffuse"

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Remarks, p.217: "1976, 1977, 1980 Different portions of the Great Orion Nebula, the spectrum of which is gaseous. the best known of its class, and one of the finest nebulae in the sky."

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part III. M.N.R.A.S., 35(9), 316.

Cederblad, S. (1946) [VII/231]

Ced 55d (NGC 1976)

Position (1900): RA 5 30.4, Dec - 5 27

Star: Cl (Mp=4.8, , SpT=O7, B0)

Spectrum of nebula: emission spectrum (observed)

Classification: Nebulous cluster (milky neb cover the clusters, eg NGC 1976)

Size: 66'x60'

Notes: "Ced 55 d = NGC 1976 = GC 1179 = h 360 = M 42 = "The Great Orion Nebula". Disc. Peiresc 1610 (118). For references earlier than 1877, see (350) Part 2. Concerning the central part (earlier than 1880), see (352), where (350) Part 2 is reprinted with additions. Stellar data: (11, 25, 26, 146, 147, 149, 151, 157, 181, 194, 198, 202, 400, 426, 436, 444, 461, 490, 516, 525, 545, 571, 655, 656, 680, 775). Visual and photographic observations: (22, 32, 69, 79, 114, 183, 202, 216, 219, 222, 223, 228, 255, 261, 327, 352, 387, 388, 427, 462, 477, 555, 578, 586, 597, 599, 631, 647). Nebular spectrum: (2, 24, 160, 161, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167, 187, 205, 224, 225, 244, 289, 293, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 399, 400, 401, 403, 404, 405, 469, 470, 471, 472, 473, 475, 498, 518, 530, 580, 581, 633, 634, 644, 648, 649, 650, 653, 654, 692, 707, 745, 757, 784, 785, 830, 834, 850). Nebular photometry : (39, 356, 357, 435, 791). Parallax : (14, 20, 21, 102, 103, 150, 194, 482, 486, 564, 566, 571, 754). Nebular proper motion and radial velocity: (168, 169, 171, 172, 174, 197, 210, 268, 520, 749, 757, 758). Interferometric measurements; temperature: (125, 126, 127, 256, 257, 269, 393). Gravitation : (3, 488). General discussions : (7, 19, 25, 30, 194, 248, 269, 294, 365, 366, 464, 558, 571, 578, 699, 715, 717, 753, 773, 778, 804). Polarization: (515). {tet} Orionis : -5 1315 = HD 37020-37023 = Boss 6936. -5 1319 = HD 37041 = Boss 6935. -5 1320 = HD 37042 = Boss 6936. Ced 55: The Orion region. History and bibliography: (118, 119, 186, 188, 191, 276, 352). The nebulous groundwork and the exterior nebulosities: (20, 21, 26, 53, 58, 78, 142, 143, 186, 191, 206, 207, 278, 279, 281, 282, 289, 305, 312, 438, 480, 519, 540. 541, 593, 594, 595, 620, 625, 628, 630 Pl 34, 663, 675, 715, 726 No 41, 769, 782, 802, 818). R. It is shown on several photographs, e.g. (630) Pl 34, that the whole region of the constellation Orion is filled up by vast masses of nebulosity. As is well known, there are several condensation which seem to stand out from the general background, and which have been separately discovered and studied. Such subnebulae, will be individually discussed below. Taken as a whole, No 55 of the catalogue should be classified as C. 2 in addition to the separate classes of the subnebulae."

Lynds, B.T. (1962)

Lynds, B.T. (1962) Catalogue of dark nebulae. Astrophys.J.Suppl.Ser. 7, 1-52. [also: computer datafile: VII/7A]

Van den Bergh & Hagen (1968)

Van den Bergh and Hagen ("UBV photometry of star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds", Astronomical Journal, Vol. 73, 1968) find that the integrated V magnitude through a 30'' diaphragm is 4.58. They remark "Orion Trapezium plus nebulosity."

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a cluster associated with nebulosity.

Bernes, C. (1977)

Bernes, C. (1977) A catalogue of bright nebulosities in opaque dust clouds.

Bernes 117 = NGC 1976 / NGC 1982

Modern observations

Neilson, David (1992)

David Neilson (Oakland, California, USA), writes in The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 10, July 1992: "Much detail seen near the Trapezium and opposite dark gulf; very convoluted and turbulent appearance. Bluish colour very obvious, as also are the outlying arms, which show a reddish tint. (8-inch)."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe (Glendale, Arizona, USA) observing with a 17.5-inch f/4.5, writes in The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 10, July 1992: "These [M42 & M 43] compromise what I believe is the most observed object in the Winter skies. This nebulous field is visible as a smudge to the naked eye, and is the apparent centre object in the Sword of Orion. The brightness, ease of location and overall beauty makes this a showpiece in everyone's telescope. My telescope shows the nebula to be a pale lime green colour with pink fringes. The dark area near the centre that contains the Trapezium stands out clearly and dimmer sections show a mottled effect, much like clouds."

Forbes, Le (1993)

Le Forbes (Stoke, St. Mary Bourne, Hampshire) observing from Puimichel, France, writes in The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 11, January 1993: "Extremely detailed nebula, with many wisps and filaments spreading out of the field. Pink tinge visible in M43. (42-inch, x185/x310)"

Clark, R.N. (1990)

See also "Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky" by Roger N. Clark (1990, Sky Publishing Corporation) page 98.

Ware, Donald J

NGC 1976 M-42 Donald J. Ware:"The Great Nebula. One of the finest sights in the sky, this nebula is easily visible to the naked eye as the"fuzzy" star in the middle of Orion's sword. It appears distinctly nebulous in binoculars or finder scopes, and shows an amazing amount of detail through the telescope. It is fully a degree in extent, with a wealth of fine curling wisps of nebulosity curving out from the brightest region surrounding the four relatively bright stars known as the Trapezium. On good nights with low power, I have even been able to see colors in this object. The region around the Trapezium appears as a cold steel blue color, wile the wispy regions further away can appear as a soft ruddy pink. Slightly separated from the main nebulosity, is M-43. This nebula is seen as a comma shaped cloud surrounding an eighth magnitude star just north of the Great Nebula. The more time you spend in this area, the more fine detail can be seen."

Shaffer, Alan (IAAC)

Observer: Alan Shaffer;Instrument: 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector Location: Rancho Palos Verdes, California, US;Light pollution: moderate Transparency: good Seeing: good;Time: Mon Mar 10 16:30:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 96

Can't resist a view. The seeing in Palos Verdes was great. This object jumped out of the night sky. At 104X, the object more than filled the field. Pale green in color. Noticed that one of the nebula arms extended very far. The dark central region gave great contrast to the beautiful glow. Always a grand view!!

Callender, John (IAAC)

Observer: John Callender; Instrument: 8-inch Dobsonian reflector Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA; Light pollution: light Transparency: good Seeing: poor; Time: Sat Mar 1 02:50:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 80

First light with my new Celestron Starhopper 8-inch Dobsonian. It wasn't even completely dark yet, but I was anxious to look through the thing, and turned it on M42 after aligning the Telrad on Sirius. Wow!!! Forgive my excitement, but my previous experience was mostly confined to 7x50 binoculars and a 60mm refractor. Later, after it got completely dark, I continued the observation, and was stunned at all the detail visible. Two wide arms extended to either side of the central Trapezium region, with the area between them filled with masses of detailed structure. I tried out all my eyepiece combinations: 25mm and 10mm, with and without the 2X Barlow, for the following magnifications: 48X, 96X, 122X, and 244X.

Gross, Todd (IAAC)

Observer: Todd Gross;Your skill: Intermediate ;Date and UT of observation: 09/05/97 0815 GMT;Location & latitude: 22 miles west of Boston, Ma. 42.3N;Site classification: Suburban;Limiting magnitude (visual): 5.2 (estimated) 4.7 (est) in vicinity of object;Seeing (1 to 10 - worst-best): 4-5;Moon up (phase?): No;Instrument: 16" Newtonian-dob w. 96/99% coatings;Magnifications: 98x, 210x, and 210x with binoviewer;Filters used: none and UHC;Object: M42/M43;Constellation: Orion ;Object data: Emission nebula

This is by far the best astronomical object in this scope. In fact, the view is so good, it far exceeds the beauty seen in photographs. The nebula is a huge emission nebula with filamentary arms, clouds of gas, and dark rifts. Separated by M43 by a broad, glow-free area. I will not try to describe the nebula in detail at this time. Here is an overview though.

In my slightly light polluted skies, the 19mm Panoptic at 98x brought out the best wide view. At first glance, the entire complex looked strong, almost electric (radiant) blue-green ( a bit closer to green ). This is the most colorful object I have ever seen bar some doubles and perhaps Jupiter. Color was best maintained at 98x, but was also seen clearly at 210x... and through the binoviewer, also approximately working at 210x. On closer inspection, I could "derive" that the arms, particularly the more well defined arm, using a UHC filter.. was actually reddish. This was more of a grey, but the mere subtraction of green from this area, does give one the impression that with more light throughput, red would be more clearly seen. Color was seen both with and w/o the UHC filter, which mainly enhanced the outer regions of the nebula, nearly doubling it's nebulosity.

In the bright center area, (rectangular) surrounding the Trapezium, that is so often seen "burnt-in" to photographs, there were included intricate lacy threads of gas, and a nearly complete "canal" or dark lane cutting almost all the way through it, (bisecting it , but offset) opposite from M43, and opp. from the dark wedge that pokes into it. This was not at all like any photos, much better resolution.

The outer arms were lacy, and delicate, very clearly seen, similar to photos,but nearly colorless the further out you go.

The Trapezium stars, at the core of the brightest part of the nebula were a bit bloated, due to seeing . 4-5 stars were clearly noted. More on the Trapezium stars (6) was reported on in a separate observation report.

M43 looks like it is included in M42, a roundish piece cut off from the main body.

[amastro] Trapezium

Observed M42 trapezium area last night. In particular I need to correct a myth in my mind relative to stars 5 and 6. I thought that 5 and 6 were reserved for 10" or larger scopes....however, as I observed this area going down in aperture from the 36" to a 16" to a 12.5" and then, finally to an 8" S/C I could see all 6 with my tired eyes. Obviously, then, seeing 6 stars under good seeing conditions must even be viewable with less than an 8".........for future articles, and getting the facts straight, I'd appreciate your remarks relative to the smallest scope used and seeing the famous 6 stars of the trapezium. Neal, High Knoll Obs., Az.



I've seen E and F quite readily in a 6-inch f/8 Newt and most of the time failed miserably with my 12.5-inch.

In my experience, it comes down to 2 things: Primarily sub arcsecond seeing, secondarily well collimated good figured optics.

I'd be surprised if a 5-inch Starfire couldn't nab them, and I would not be surprised if a 4-inch refractor could pull them out at high power.



That's always a fun area. I often feel "guilty" for sometimes ignoring the most glorius object in the sky and trying to see how many tiny little stars I can count within this wonderful object. I've seen the 7th star (g) inside the Trapezium a couple of times with my 25". Once Orion gets up high enough I'll go for the even fainter double star H. This is considered the 8th star, but shouldn't it really be the 8th and 9th, since it's a double? Has anyone seen these? There's a good diagram of the Trapezium stars in Burnham's "Celestial Handbook", p. 1327.

Kent Blackwell


I know I've seen E with my 4" f/15 Unitron. I'll have to give F a try, but my guess is it's highly likely with a nice long focus refractor such as this exquisite 1951 Unitron 4"!


I can easily see stars E and F with my 105-mm refractor. I can see E, but have not seen F with my husband's 90-mm refractor. On the other hand, I seldom use the 90-mm. I suspect it would be possible on a good night.

Clear skies, Sue



I saw the two H stars through someone's 16" at the Winter Star Party one year, also through Jim Carroll's 18" at the same star party.

Clear skies, Sue


I don't know where the myth about the ten inch came from, but the two fainter members of the Trapezium group are indeed visible in smaller apertures (significantly smaller than 8 inches). I once stopped my ten inch down to 70mm and under good conditions could still just barely see all 6, although 5 and 6 tended to fade in and out at that small aperture. With 90mm, they both could be held with little difficulty although they were faint. It takes good seeing and a fairly dark sky, but with the proper power selection (I like about 120x to 150x or so), its not all that difficult). Clear skies to you.

David Knisely KA0CZC@navix.net

Prairie Astronomy Club, Inc. http://www.4w.com/pac



I've seen E and F in a 4" Schmidt Cassegrain in sub-arcsecond seeing.

Don Pensack


We have pretty good seeing fairly regularly here on the central California coast. I have resolved A through F in the Trapezium fairly regularly with excellent refractors in the 90 to 100 mm range (Vixen 90 mm fluorite, 98 mm Brandon (Christen triplet -- Brandon 94 in which a previous owner had bored out the front retaining ring for a few more mm of aperture), and on exceptional occasions have seen all six in smaller aperture; 70 mm and 55 mm Vixen fluorites.

-- Jay Freeman


But from bad skies......

I have seen E easily with a 10" f6 Dob from a badly light-polluted (limiting mag 3.5) central city location. I suggest we come up with a unit of difficulty, or perhaps some units of difficulty. For example, from a half-decent site, if Walter Scott Houston could see it in a 4" I could see it in an 8", so this would be two Houston units. (Like a volt, a ohm,,etc.). Other units could be in Freemans, or O'Mearas. Just a suggestion. :-)

Bill Meyers


Steve Gottlieb

M42 & Orion Nebula

05 35.4 -05 27

17.5: best emission nebula in northern sky, fantastic view under all

conditions, bright colored wings sweep to the E and S. The remarkable

structure is difficult to describe but includes bays, filaments, knots,

nebulous stars and a huge outer loop. Definite colors are visible

including pale greens and pinks. Highlighted by the Trapzezium which

contains six stars. The bright portion surrounding Theta has an "electric"

appearance with dark streaks and a dark wedge = "fish's mouth" intrudes on

the NE side. Using an H� filter, the nebulosity significantly dims in

general but there is one outer wing or loop on the W side (oriented N-S)

which obviously increases in contrast with the filter!

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, using a 13" f/5.6, notes: "Extremely Bright, extremely large, irregular shape, very much brighter in the middle at 100X in the 13". The Great Orion Nebula is certainly a showpiece and it probably is the most observed deep sky object in the Winter sky, it deserves that position of honor. On a night I rated 9/10 for transparency at a very dark site in the Arizona desert the center of the Sword of Orion is fuzzy to the naked eye. In my 11X80 finder the "batwings" feature of the nebula is obvious, with the western side brighter. Going to the 13" at 100X, the nebulosity is larger than the 30' field of view. All 6 six stars in the Trapezium section are seen and a backround of very faint stars embedded in the nebula are at the limit of averted vision. The area around the Trapezium in very, very mottled, like storm clouds. The dark marking called the "fish mouth" appears three dimensional. The dark area is obviously in front of the nebulosity. The dark lane extends beyond the nebula to the NE. Raising the power to 220X will hold 10 of the faint stars in the nebula steady. The central region around the Trapezium has "rays" of nebulosity that extend into the darker region to the south. The Trapezium stars are contained within a "hole" in the nebula, it appears that these stars lit off and blew away the material nearby. At all powers, the nebula is a pale lime green and has pink fringes where the nebulosity is brightest. Overall a spectacular object that no photograph or drawing can truly capture. 13" Sentinel 8/10 38mm Entire sword region just fits, very bright, very, very large, much brighter middle, 57 stars involved incl 4 in Trapezium. Grey-green color and entire circle of Orion Neb. included. 100X a great view, excellent contrast, bright curved wings lead away from Trapezium to the north and south, Fishmouth takes a bite in from the East. WOW!! 6" f/6 Sun Valley 22mm panoptic very bright, very large, irregular figure, much, much brighter middle, many stars involved. A fabulous view of the entire Sword area. Adding the UHC filter makes for a very contrasty view of this famous region."

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "4M; >1 degree extent! the "ORION NEBULA"; illuminated by Theta ORI; defies description! find it-- revel in the wisps, filaments and colors-- and come up with your own!."

Ed Finlay


ASSA DSOS: Ed Finlay, observing with a 4.5-inch Newt. (45x-150x) notes that Theta Ori is resolved at 100x and 150x. Of the fan-shaped nebula he writes: "looks pale green to the eye."

ASSA DSOS: Ed Finlay, observing with 10x50 binoculars from Johannesburg, 1992 May 3, calls it "a barely discernable fuzzy point of light; a possible sighting."

Paul Alsing

82-inch at McDonald - Observing Report

[amastro] posting, Sat Nov 25, 2006

82" telescope, McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, USA

f/13.7, 35mm Televue Panoptic (5' fov, 812x)

Trapezium, M-42, Orion

The trapezium is one of the few objects to be viewed both nights. The first night the seeing was just not good enough to see any Trapezium stars other than A-F, but the second night the seeing was nearly perfect, maybe 1/3 arc-second, and then I could easily see G and I within the trapezium and H (but not H') just outside. I had printed a terrific finder chart and photo of the area and could see just about every star in the field. I looked for the proplyd "tails" on the G, H and I stars, but they were just not there, nor was the shock excited [O III] arc near G visible (well, I can dream, can't I?) Almost as an afterthought, after looking only for the difficult objects in the field, I finally noticed the nebulosity! It was exactly like looking down on the clouds from above while in an airplane, puffy clouds as far as the eye can see. What a sight!

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf


My earliest observations of this nebula were somewhat confused. Descriptions in texts of the multiple Trapezium , together with my inexperience of the differing appearance of an object with varying apertures, led me to mis-identify the Trapezium. Through the 2-inch refractor I was using, the nebula was a disappointment, again due to published photographs. I was, naively, expecting to see writhing gas streamers, etc. But then, one clear, crisp night, I turned the 15.5-inch on M42. I was observing with a friend of mine, using the lowest power eyepiece we had (110x). He located the nebula, or so he thought. What he had actually found was the fainter M43 nearby. We did not realize it at the time, and then I nudged the old Newtonian a fraction, and there were my writhing gas streamers! The trapezium was easily visible, and the surrounding nebulosity very clear. Equally prominent was the darkening leading to the Trapezium. I drew it in my first sketch as a square. Also prominent was a long streamer leading from the main area to a reasonably bright star. I could only see 2 other stars in the nebulosity itself. As far as the shape is concerned, the general impression is that it has pointed corners, in a triangular shape. Interestingly, in the November 1980 edition of Sky and Telescope, p. 365, a sketch of the nebula is reproduced, showing the nebula as a rectangle. Once I knew what the Trapezium looked like, it was easy to find with my 2" At 30x only three companions were seen, along with vague nebulosity. But at 60x, the nebulosity was clearer, and the dark rectangular obstruction could be made out with averted vision. I searched through earlier observations of the Trapezium, and came upon a sketch made with the 2" at 48x. I clearly show the Trapezium in the sketch as a brighter star with a smaller one on each side, forming a right-angled triangle.

2007 April 15

Sutherland (Ouberg Quarry)

11x80 tripod mounted binoculars

Conditions: NELM: fainter than 6.0 at the S.pole

Very very large (25'), very very bright. Irregular triangular nebula with two bright (theta-1 and theta-2 Orionis) and two fainter stars in the northern part. Fans out broadly to the west, with a south-eastward extension towards two 7th magnitude stars. North-western edge (8' long) rather sharply defined, with a prominent 2' wide gap in the nebulosity near theta Orionis. Very rich binocular field of bright and small stars about (which includes NGC 1977 north and NGC 1980 to the south).

Kerneels Mulder

2009 January 25

Date and Time: 25 January 2009, 0:40
Location: Prince Albert (Western Cape, South Africa).
Instrument: Orion XT10 10" f/4.7 Dobsonian Reflector
Eyepieces: 8mm (150x, 24′ FOV), 10mm (120x, 26′ FOV), 25mm (48x, 1� FOV)
Sky Conditions: Slight haze at times. Seeing: 6/10. Transparency: Average
Slightly windy

Very easy to locate. Visible naked eye as the central star in Orion's sword.

48x: Large bright nebula. Very impressive visually. Irregular in shape, but looks somewhat like outstretched wings. Estimated size at 50′ x 50′. Brightest region of nebulosity is around the Trapezium area with 4 stars visible in the Trapezium. Chain of 3 stars to SE of Trapezium. Various stars of varied brightness can be seen in and around the nebula.

Just E of Trapezium a dark indentation can be seen. Large tendrils of nebulosity extend to NW and SE. Edges are diffuse with a large area of nebulosity extending to the W. Brightness decreases gradually from the Trapezium region outwards to the W.

Distinctive dark dust lane separates M42 from M43 situated to the N. M43 can be seen as a patch of nebulosity surrounding a star (mag 7). Averted vision shows swirls and streamers of dust and gas within the nebula.

150x: Nebula around the Trapezium region shows a mottled appearance with swirls of dust and gas now visible using direct vision. The tendril that extends to the E (around the chain of 3 stars) show definite structure with a prominent half-circle curve of gas visible.

The dark dust lane now much more apparent and defined with structure. Has the appearance of a man with extended arms reaching toward M43 and the Trapezium. (Head to the NW).

The E star in the Trapezium can be glimpsed at times using averted vision, but seeing is not good enough to make it clearly visible.

Chris Vermeulen

2006 March 25

2006/3/25, 19h00-22h00

Sky Conditions: Poor: Cloudy

Quality of Observation: Moderate

Ngwenya Lodge

6" Dobsonian, 25mm & 10mm Eyepieces

The Orion Nebula is most certainly one of the most spectacular nebulae to observe. Even to the naked eye this nebula is clearly visible as a very distinct cloud-like object in the skies. The view at 120x magnification is breathtaking. The 4 stars in the centre, called the Trapezium, causes the nebula to shine brightly as these stars are very hot and gives the nebula it brilliant glow. Viewed at 48x magnification the Orion Nebula is host to beautiful shapes of its clouds formed by the gas emissions from the stars forming within. Lighter and darker clouds are very clearly visible through both 120x and 48x magnification.

Carol Botha

2007 March 16

Date: 2007 03 16, 21:00

Location: Bellville

Instrument: 8-inch Dobsonian, 25mm eyepiece

Sky: Clear, light pollution

Notes: Bright glowing nebula. Dark lane pointing towards four bright stars in the middle. The four stars form a trapezoid, with one star very bright, two dimmer and one faint. Three bright stars in a straight line along an elongation of the nebula.

Richard Ford

2010 February,14


Instrument:12"Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:Dark moon and stars magnitude 6 and fainter are barely visible with the naked eye.

Transparency of the Sky:The most clear sky possible.

Seeing:Excellent clean sky,limited star flickering and brilliant objects.

Limiting Magnitude:6.5.

Size in Arc Minutes:11.2'.

It is a breathtaking sight to observe this nebula in a large telescope.

This bright nebula presents an irregular appearance of bright dust lanes silently silhoettingly separated from the four bright stars in the trapezium that power this nebula.This nebula is well broken up into dust lanes of clouds of gas and dust.Through my 26mm eyepiece and 20mm ultra wide angle eyepiece this nebula's gas and dust presents a greenish hue.Around the outskirts of this nebula,I have found areas of uneven brightness where the four stars in the trapezium power this nebula into layers of cloud and gas.This nebula is well composed of bright lanes but no darker patches are observed.No other structure is visible at present.

Andre de la Porte

2011 December 25, Sunday

Location: Riviera, Pretoria

Time: 20:10-21:10

Telescope: Orion 10 In Dob

Limiting magnitude: 4.5

Sky conditions: Clear, Good seeing and transparency

(10mm, 120x) The nebula is clearly visible and. In light-polluted skies the dense part is clearly visible with some extended very faint wisps. There are some lighter and darker patches in the body of the nebula. The trapezium and the clear area around these four stars are clearly visible. The nebula is surrounded by sparkling stars.

To the north M43 is also visibly as a round pach of haziness with a central star.

(25mm, 48x) The nebula is clearly visible and it remains a stunning sight. Under light polluted skies only the central, denser part is visible. The trapezium and the clear area around these four stars are clearly visible. The nebula is surrounded by sparkling stars!

Tom Bryant

2007-03-18 10:30:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[5h 35m 24s, -5� 27' 0"] The great nebula in Orion. It looked GREEN at 36x. This is the first time I've ever seen this color in it, probably due to the low magnification and large exit pupil. The seeing was poor, and I could barely make out the E and F stars in the trapesium at 160x.

Pierre de Villiers

2016 February 04, Thursday

Location: Bonnievale SSP (Night Sky Caravan Park)

Telescope: Skywatcher 200-mm f/5, Delos 8-mm (0.57-deg fov)

Binoculars: Canon 12x36 IS (5-deg fov)

Sky conditions: Excellent (9/10)

Quality of observation: Good

M 42 is THE most spectacular bright nebula in the sky. The milky nebulosity of the closest star-forming region to Earth is eerily beautiful. m = 4; size 25 x 20-arcmin (65 x 65-arcmin catalogue)


2017 November 30, Tuesday

Location: Buenos Aires Argentina

Time: 20:30

Telescope: SKY WATCHER HERITAGE 130/650

Limiting magnitude: 12

Sky conditions: BUENAS


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