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  • Globular Cluster M4
  • M14 - A Typical Globular Cluster
  • Pillars of Creation
  • Crab Nebula
  • The Crab Nebula Supernova Explosion
  • Eagle Nebula
  • Eagle Nebula (visible)
  • IC 2944
  • Eta Carinae - A Supermassive Star
  • The Horsehead Nebula
  • The Horsehead Nebula (infrared)
  • The Orion Nebula - M42
  • Orion Molecular Cloud Complex
  • M78 - A Blue Reflection nebula
  • Omega Nebula
  • Ring Nebula
  • Planet-Forming Disc around a New Born Star
  • Simeis 147 supernova remnant
  • The Great Carina Nebula (NGC 3372)
  • The Great Carina Nebula in False Colours
  • V838 Monocerotis - Light Echo of an Erupting Star
  • Open star cluster Pismis 24
  • Black hole Cygnus X-1
  • A gas cloud near the Milky Way's central black hole
  • Black hole

You know the constellation of Orion by its three bright stars in a row? Well, there would be a lot more to observe if our eyes were better at gathering the faint light of the night sky. With the unaided eye you can mainly see the three massive stars that make up the belt of Orion (on the left) as well as the Orion Nebula (upper right) and, to its left, the Running Man nebula, a bluish reflection nebula. But there is much more to see in this region of the sky:

  • the Flame Nebula (below Alnitak, the lowest star of the belt): a red emission nebula with dark filaments of dust.
  • the Horsehead Nebula (to the right of Alnitak): an accumulation of dense dust with many stars that are currently being born inside the horsehead, they can be revealed by observing in infrared light.
  • M78: a gorgeous reflection nebula (to the lower left corner of the image).
  • a lot of gas and dust covering an area of about 4 x 8 degrees in the sky (for comparison: a full moon has a diameter of 0.5°).

This huge area is about 1500 to 1600 light years away and hundreds of light years across. It's the nearest star-forming region to us in the entire universe. In the full resolution image you can see many details.

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Orion Molecular Cloud Complex
Published by Published or last modified on 2024-04-16
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