One of the most recognizable constellations in the winter sky is Orion. Most people can pick out the stars of the shoulders, feet, belt, and sword. However, few people realize that the center star of the sword is really a large bright nebula! It is called The Great Nebula in Orion or M42 (for Messier list object 42). This was the first nebula to be successfully photographed by Henry Draper in 1880 and is a very popular target for astrophotographers. It is 1600-1900 light years away and about 30 light years in diameter. Pictured here is that nebula and NGC 1977 below. This is a combination of two, one-hour exposures on Kodak PPF 400 film at f7.5 taken in central Oregon