(IAAC) Object: M42/M43 Instrument: 16" Newtonian f/4.59

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

- Todd
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