This is a joint project with my observatory partner, Josep Drudis, on my PlaneWave CDK20 (0.5m) telescope located at the iTelescope.net facility at Siding Spring, NSW, Australia. It incorporates nearly 55 hours of exposures and required repeating the data acquisition in four overlapping frames in order to cover the 60 – 80 arcmin size of the Orion nebula. We ended up with slightly different versions on our respective web sites due to our different artistic interpretations of this complex object.
As a personal note, I have been doing astrophotography for about 17 years. The Orion nebula is always one of the top 3 or so most popular objects to image, along with the Horsehead, North American and Ring Nebulae. It has everything. It has structure. It has vibrant colors. It is large and therefore suitable for smaller telescopes that beginners start out with. That being said, it is absolutely the most difficult image that I have ever processed due to the huge dynamic range from the very bright Trapezium to the faint, less ionized, cloudy regions at the extremities. You then need to blend short and long exposures, similar to an HDR (high dynamic range) process for a DSLR camera. This is not my first attempt, but I am pleased that it exhibits what I feel is a good balance among structure, color and dynamic range. I do not generally editorialize when I post my images, but Orion is a special case. So if you are just starting out and cannot wait to image Orion, well, caveat emptor. My sympathies and hopes are with you.