In the December issue of the Reflector (the Astronomical League's quarterly magazine that goes out to all 20,000+ members), I wrote my first article for them. And, much to my surprise, I decided to write about Messier 42, arguably one of the most well-known objects in the entire sky.
Now, normally, I don't like to write about objects that are too well known since I enjoy presenting little known facts...and I figured there weren't any left when it came to M42. But after painstakingly researching what its brightest protoplanetary disk ("proplyd", for short) might be, I was able to see said proplyd with my 16-inch. All that research and the plethora of "rabbit holes" that came along with it made me realize that there's actually a lot of confusion in the amateur astronomy community as to who discovered what...and when.
So, what I'd like you to do is read the article and tell me if you learned anything new. For me, the three biggest things were that there is a proplyd visible to us amateurs, William Herschel was the first to use the name "Trapezium", and that it's very likely the nebula hadn't opened up enough (and thus wasn't bright enough) to be naked-eye back 100,000 years ago!
The current issue can be downloaded (for free) from here: https://www.astroleague.org/reflector/
Edited by SNH, 30 November 2023 - 10:10 PM.