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Orion Mosaic | by geckzilla
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Orion Mosaic

Wasn't sure how this would turn out when I downloaded the data. I wanted to do something a bit different from other Orion images, so I chose what I would consider a rather challenging set of filters from a large mosaic. The blue color represents Paschen β continuum, which is hydrogen α's near-infrared cousin. The reddish color represents the H2O/CH4 line, which is important to help separate out what astronomers were looking for in this dataset—brown dwarfs in this case.


There are a lot of cool details to see that otherwise would be obscured in this near-infrared view. The mountain-like formation south of the Trapezium stands out way better than a visible light image, and I enjoy the way the layers of gas appear like a gossamer fabric. There are even a few background galaxies visible.


If you looked at this image without saturation adjustments, you'd barely see any color at all. The filters are barely separated, and it shows in the combined image. So I had to increase saturation a lot. I was inspired by Bill's color STIS image I did a little while ago for this. I wanted to take something that had almost no color, and see if I could get some beautiful colors out of it. In addition to the saturation boost, I set both clarity and texture sliders in Adobe Camera Raw all the way to 100 with stars masked. These really help bring out all the wispy details without adding too many artifacts.


So... I spent a *lot* of time cleaning up cosmic rays on this one. Please do download the original size, zoom in, etc.


Right now this is only a two-color image. I might come back later and add a third filter. I kind of like the simplicity of this, though.


Some portions of the image contain J band data from CTIO Blanco's ISPI instrument. Notably, the upper left corner, and portions around the outer edges. I cloned some HST stars and put them in place of the CTIO stars so the whole image looks more cohesive. Color in those areas is approximated. CTIO/ISPI data can be found here:


Data from the following proposal were used to create this image: The Orion Nebula Cluster as a Paradigm of Star Formation


Red-Orange: WFC3/IR F139M (H2O/CH4)

Blue-Cyan: WFC3/IR F130N (Paschen beta continuum)


North is 9.3° clockwise from up.

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Uploaded on January 4, 2020