The Winter Hexagon
Selected as Astronomy Picture of the Day on 04 April 2003

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During the northern hemisphere winter months we are viewing a part of the night sky facing away from the center of the Milky Way. These regions are more sparsely populated with stars than the bright star clouds of the summer Milky Way, but nevertheless show an amazing number of dark nebulae and red Ha emission nebulae. The bright stars Sirius, Rigel, Aldebaran, Capella, Castor+Pollux and Procyon form the huge Winter Hexagon. Just below the image center is the constellation of Orion, the great hunter in ancient Greek mythology. South of Orion lies its prey, Lepus (the Hare). Although none of its stars is brighter than 3rd magnitude, this constellation has a rather poignant shape.

Instrument Minolta 50 mm lens, stopped down to f/3.5
Mount Losmandy G-11
Guiding ST-4 autoguider
Film Kodak E200
Date 28/29 Dec. 2002
Exposure time 8 exposures, 30 min each
Site Alamo Campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona
Processing The mosaic was assembled from eight individual frames using the same techniques developed for the Milky Way panorama. Initial processing with Gimp.

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© 2003 Axel Mellinger
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