M42, the Great Orion Nebula
M42 is the most prominent
diffuse nebula visible to observers in North America. It's a
star-forming cloud of hydrogen highlighted by the Trapezium, a
tiny cluster of very young stars at its core.
M42 is unusual among deep
sky objects in that it has such a huge range of brightnesses.
The inner parts are so bright that they show up well in a 30
second exposure. The dimmer parts need eight minutes of
exposure or more at f/9. At eight minutes, the inner parts are
completely blown out. To make this image, I combined 30 images
ranging from eight minutes at ISO 1600 to one minute at ISO
This is probably the best I can do from my current location. The long exposures were pretty swamped by light pollution. Made with my 155mm refractor.