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Steele County Astronomical Society
Steele County Astronomical Society
   Affiliated with the Astronomical League
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COOL FOR A CHRISTMAS TELESCOPE
ORION- A WINTER CONSTELLATION

Look east around 7:00 in the evening.  You will need to look higher up as the night gets later.  Locate the large pattern of stars that appear like a bow tie knocked to the side.  Some people see it as an hour glass.  The ancients called it Orion the Hunter.  

The fun thing about this constellation is the nebula, or Messier objects M42 and M43, viewed as a smudge to the bare eye.  A binocular or VERY LOW powered telescope will reveal a spectacular view!  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Do not use high power or you will shoot right through and never find it and it can be very frustrating.  Look at your ojective eyepiece lens number and select the highest number (for example pick the 32mm over the 8mm).  The larger number is actually the lower powered magnification and this is what you need to start with.

The above image from Starry Night Bundle Edition, Sienna Software Inc., was modified to annunciate the Orion Nebula.
The image below (M42) is provided by Mike Smithwick of Distant Suns.  You won't see the nebula this spectacular with most department store scopes but you should get a good view.

Image of M42

M42, the "Great Nebula in Orion" is usually one of the most beautiful objects in the sky.  M42 is estimated to be about 30 light years across. As with most nebula, this one is primarily made of hydrogen, about 90% worth, about 8% is helium and the restis carbon, oxygen and some trace elements.
 


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