Astrophoto: Beautiful new look at the Orion Nebula

Mar 28, 2013 by Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
Astrophoto: Beautiful new look at the Orion Nebula
M 42 in Orion using the ‘Hubble “Palette.’ Credit: Images by Gary Gonnella, image editing by Paul M. Hutchinson.

The enormous cloud of dust and gas that makes up the Orion Nebula is featured in this beautiful astrophoto. This image was a joint effort, with images taken by Gary Gonnella – a regular on our Virtual Star Parties – and image editing by Paul Hutchinson. Paul used the "Hubble Palette" – named for the Hubble Space Telescope and its capability of imaging in very narrow wavelengths of light using various filters. This enables astrophotographs to reveal details of objects in space that can't be seen by the human eye. Here, the filters used produced different colors: were Hydrogen Alpha=Green, S=Red, O=Blue. Paul said he combined two exposures, a 1 minute and 10 second exposure, to reduce the blow-out in the bright center of the nebula. The results are striking!

Compare this great image to another image of the Orion Nebula, recently taken by the WISE telescope (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), below. Colors in this image represents specific . Blue represents light emitted at 3.4-micron wavelengths and cyan (blue-green) represents 4.6 microns, both of which come mainly from hot stars. Relatively cooler objects, such as the dust of the nebulae, appear green and red. Green represents 12-micron light and red represents 22-micron light.

The Orion Nebula as seen by the WISE telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

The Orion nebula is part of the larger Orion molecular cloud complex, which also includes the . This region is actively making new stars.

Explore further: Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

Related Stories

Image: Decorating the sky

Dec 27, 2010

This mosaic image taken by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features three nebulae that are part of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud--the Flame nebula, the Horsehead nebula and NGC 2023.

Space Image: North American Nebula

Oct 19, 2011

This swirling landscape of stars is known as the North America Nebula. In visible light, the region resembles North America, but in this image infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the continent ...

Making a spectacle of star formation in Orion

Jun 30, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Looking like a pair of eyeglasses only a rock star would wear, this nebula brings into focus a murky region of star formation. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope exposes the depths of this dusty ...

Image: A nebula by any other name

Feb 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nebulae are enormous clouds of dust and gas occupying the space between the stars. Some have pretty names to match their good looks, for example the Rose nebula, while others have much more ...

Image: Dark reflections in the Southern Cross

Oct 28, 2010

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, captured this colorful image of the reflection nebula IRAS 12116-6001. This cloud of interstellar dust cannot be seen directly in visible light, but WISE's ...

'Pacman' nebula gets some teeth

Oct 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- To visible-light telescopes, this star-forming cloud appears to be chomping through the cosmos, earning it the nickname the "Pacman" nebula, like the famous Pac-Man video game that debuted ...

Recommended for you

Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

11 minutes ago

No matter how beautiful or crystal clear the bubbling waters of an oasis may be, they seldom lead to technology breakthroughs. Yet, NASA's OASIS investigation's bubbles may lead to an ocean of new improvements ...

Zapping away space junk

9 hours ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

Ariane 5's first launch of 2015

11 hours ago

An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.