Orion Nebula Close Up

Orion Nebula

Orion Nebula Close Up

The other day, I posted a picture of the Orion Nebula that I took myself, using my Nikon D300 with a 200 mm lens.  I thought you would enjoy seeing how the Hubble Space Telescope views this colorful nebula.

Orion is about 1,500 light years away, so it’s relatively close to us.  It’s the nearest star forming region to the Earth and it has a lot to offer observers.  I’d like to highlight a couple of areas in this beautifully detailed image.   

There is a massive young star embedded in the bright glow in the upper left.  This youngster is giving off immense amounts of ultraviolet light and is the only star that is shaping this part of the nebula.  Notice the dense piller of dust just to the left of this star.

The real show in this nebula is the bright center.  Within this region are four massive stars that are called the trapezium.  If you look close, you can see that they are arranged in a trapezium shape.  These big boys are blowing out the dust and gas around them forming the bright glowing shell.  The edge of the shell can be seen as the red glowing pillar near the bottom left.

Other intriguing objects in the image include the faint red stars near the bottom of the image.  These are brown dwarf stars that never made it to full stellar stature – they weren’t big enough to sustain nuclear fusion which is what powers a star.

Obviously, Hubble does a much better job of taking nebula pictures than I do!  It’s amazing what a couple of hundred million dollars can do to enhance your photography skills!

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto ( Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team

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