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Messier 42 and Messier 43 – A Hubble Telescope Wide Field Mosaic

This spectacular Hubble Telescope image was first published in 2006 is is the result of many individual frames that were acquired by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WPC2), the Near Infrared Camera during 105 Earth orbits.   The data was then combined into this  wide field image.

Here is a link to one of the press releases for this image: https://spacetelescope.org/news/heic0601/

The individual red, green and blue channel data is available for download at the Hubble Legacy Archive – http://hla.stsci.edu/hlaview.html.   Just type in “M42” and the R, G and B channel data should be the first three results returned. Each of the channels is 324 MB and is 18,000 x 18,000 pixels.  The the channels have been normalized and aligned so all you will need to do is combine the channels into an RGB image that you can work with.

It is interesting to scroll down through the other search results and see the individual panels that were used to create the full mosaic.  All of the bright stars are very saturated with long blooming spikes.  The people who put this mosaic together have some very advanced Photoshop skills.  I haven’t seen any seams or other artifacts from their processing.

The first image below is the full frame view which you can click on to see a higher resolution version.  The following images are higher resolution crops of the Trapezium area and of Messier 43 respectively.  I have posted even higher resolution versions on my Astrobin page for this object.

Posted in Bright Nebula, Hubble Telescope Image

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