A man stands in awe of the Orion Nebula (M42), as taken taken from the Spitzer and Hubble orbiting telescopes. This is a huge starbirth region, where gas is coalescing to form new stars. Radiation from the hot young stars ionizes the gases in the nebula, causing it to emit light. The emitting gases have been color-coded: sulphur (red), hydrogen (green) and oxygen (blue). The stars powering this nebula are a tight cluster called the Trapezium, which occupies the blue area at upper center. At top, separated from M42 by a dark lane of dust, is the related nebula M43. These nebulae lie around 1600 light years from Earth in the constellation Orion. Composite image.
August 23rd, 2012
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