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Wednesday December 12th 2012

Images of the the Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula (Messier 42M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion’s Belt. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky.  Here are some great images of the Nebula.

A colony of hot, young stars is stirring up the cosmic scene in this new picture from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The image shows the Orion nebula.  The young stars dip and peak in brightness due to a variety of reasons. Shifting cold and hot spots on the stars’ surfaces cause brightness levels to change, in addition to surrounding disks of lumpy planet-forming material, which can obstruct starlight. Spitzer is keeping tabs on the young stars, providing data on their changing ways.

Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/J. Stauffer (SSC/Caltech)

The European Southern Observatory consortium’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) in Paranal, Chile released the view of young stars in the Orion Nebula to demonstrate the compatibilities of the new telescope’s 13.5-foot-wide mirror.

Credit: ESO

This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Orion nebula, our closest massive star-making factory, 1,450 light-years from Earth. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Toledo

One of VISTA's first images shows the Flame Nebula, a spectacular star-forming cloud of gas and dust in the constellation of Orion Photo: EPA

This arcing, graceful structure is actually a bow shock about half a light-year across, created from the wind from the star L.L. Orionis colliding with the Orion Nebula flow. For more information on this image, see HubbleSite. Credit: NASA, The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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