Astro Arash

Witch Head Nebula

The Witch Head Nebula is a very faint object located at Orion’s feet, about 900 light years away. It is lit by Rigel (at the bottom right).

I was definitely not ready for how hard this object is to capture. “Extremely faint” is not an exaggeration. When taking images, I had to trust that I was pointing at the right place, and I couldn’t make it out at all until halfway through processing the image. I was pretty unhappy with the end result, the image looks very grainy and noisy due to how much processing was required. In hindsight, I should have tempered my expectations for this faint object with short, unguided sub exposures from a suburban sky.

All in all, I managed to capture about 3.5 hours of exposure over several February nights. Maybe I should take another crack at processing this image, but mainly I look forward to next season when I can approach this object with some more experience under my belt.

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