After four years of data collection, and a further six months processing, the 34 pane mosaic of Orion is compete! The result is just over 400 hours, or 1.44 million seconds of total exposures -- to put that in context, this image has more exposure time than the famous Hubble deep field image!
Details of the image data capture
This luminance data, hydrogen alpha, and some central RGB for the image was taken by myself from Spain from 2011-2013. At the end of 2013 I moved back to Ireland but moved my set up to France to my friend Olly Penrice's location. We bought a large mount and added both our identical telescope / camera setups so we could gather twice the amount of day in a session. I asked Olly to join me in collecting the RGB data with our new dual Takahashi telescope set up. On occasion I also traveled to France with a third Tak, and in one night last December we captured over 19 hrs in one night with the three scopes. During that week long trip, we managed to image over 100 hours in an excellent week of imaging conditions. We finished the hydrogen alpha collection in February this year.
I began the processing in 2013 by lightly stretching each pane in luminance and then stitching it into a large single layer. The initial processing for all the panes was done in Pixinsight.
I registered each RGB pane to the master luminance and lightly stretched those too. The same was done with the Ha layer. I then stitched the RGB panes, and separately the Ha panes inTo their own master layers. At this stage I had three master layers. The luminance (black and white), the RGB and the Ha. These were then blended together in photoshop into first a HaRGB layer then with the luminance blended, the final master image was LHaRGB. This was then further processed in Photoshop to enhance the background dust and nebulae throughout the image.
Finally, high resolution data taken by Olly with a TEC telescope at 1000mm for the Horsehead, Flame, Running Man, and Orion Nebula were blended into the image.
The result, as far as we're aware, even without the high resolution TEC data, is the highest resolution widefield image of Orion ever taken by amateurs. There are also many dark nebulae in the image that I have not seen before in any detail which is very exciting