Sword of Orion

29/11/2013
The well-known constellation of Orion has a distinctive "belt" of three stars, below which hangs a "sword". I made this picture using my 400mm lens, revealing the central star is in fact a giant nebula of dust and gas, within which new stars are being born. Capturing this image required a 30 second exposure, which at this focal length, if the camera were stationary, would render the stars as trails. To avoid this I mounted the camera on a telescope which tracks to compensate for the earth's rotation, giving a completely sharp result. My thanks to Andy Schofield for the use of the telescope and assistance in processing the image.