Tony Flanders' Astronomy Site
Views of M42
Surface Brightness
Telescopic Limiting Mag
Aperture vs Sky Glow
Messier Guide
Messier Objects by RA
Messiers by Number


These pictures fail to do justice to the magnificent Orion Nebula, but they give some sense of how it is affected by aperture and by light pollution.  The bright star at the center of each picture is the Trapezium, which is readily resolved into four stars at these magnifications, but cannot be shown as such at this scale. The bright nebulosity around the Trapezium is not a uniform glow as shown here, but shows a wealth of intricate detail which I have never seen reproduced adequately in any drawing.
The Orion Nebula contains both areas of extremely high surface brightness and also areas of extremely low surface brightness, so it benefits greatly -- but in different ways -- both from aperture and from dark skies.