Behold: M42, the great stellar nurseries of the Orion Nebula – the most famous of all astronomical nebulae. To wit:

Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the featured deep image in assigned colours highlighted by emission in oxygen and hydrogen, wisps and sheets of dust and gas are particularly evident. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye near the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. In addition to housing a bright open cluster of stars known as the Trapezium, the Orion Nebula contains many stellar nurseries. These nurseries contain much hydrogen gas, hot young stars, proplyds, and stellar jets spewing material at high speeds. Also known as M42, the Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.

(Image: Josep M. Drudis & Don Goldman)

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6 thoughts on “Inside Orion

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    Love this. Amazing astrophotography of what once was just a smudgy gas cloud below the hunters belt.

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