Orion's sword

In the ancient Greek legend, Orion was a hunter. In fact he was such an important character that a constellation was named after him.

The constellation of Orion is prominent in the winter night sky and is found by looking for the three stars in a line that make up Orion's belt. From the belt hangs a small sword (or dagger) and with the unaided eye this usually looks like a few faint stars and smudge of light. Back in December I took several 15 second exposures of the sword using my digital camera set to full zoom. I had forgotten about them, so I've only just got around to adding the frames together. To take the pictures I placed my camera on a mini tripod which remained fixed during each exposure. Despite each exposure lasting only 15 seconds the apparent movement of the stars, due to the Earth's rotation, causes the stars to look like lines.

Sword of Orion
Orions sword. Created by adding six 15 second exposures. CREDIT: Stuart
In the middle of the sword you can even make out the smudge that is M42 - the Orion Nebula. My image isn't as brilliant or as beautiful as some, but I'm still impressed by such a simple setup.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 03rd Jan 2006 (21:06 UTC) | Permalink
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