Image: Spitzer's Orion

January 16, 2014
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

( —Few cosmic vistas excite the imagination like the Orion Nebula, an immense stellar nursery some 1,500 light-years away.

This stunning false-color view spans about 40 light-years across the region, constructed using from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Compared to its visual wavelength appearance, the brightest portion of the nebula is likewise centered on Orion's young, massive, hot stars, known as the Trapezium Cluster.

But the infrared image also detects the nebula's many protostars, still in the process of formation, seen here in red hues. In fact, red spots along the dark dusty filament to the left of the bright cluster include the protostar cataloged as HOPS 68, recently found to have crystals of the silicate mineral olivine within its protostellar envelope.

Explore further: Image: Siding Spring Observatory reveals stellar nursery

Related Stories

Embracing Orion

August 26, 2013

( —This new view of the Orion A star-formation cloud from ESA's Herschel space observatory shows the turbulent region of space that hugs the famous Orion Nebula.

Space Image: North American Nebula

October 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 disappears.

Making a spectacle of star formation in Orion

June 30, 2011

( -- 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 nebula with its ...

Hubble probes interior of Tarantula Nebula

January 9, 2014

Like lifting a giant veil, the near-infrared vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovers a dazzling new view deep inside the Tarantula Nebula. Hubble reveals a glittering treasure trove of more than 800,000 stars and ...

Astrophoto: Beautiful new look at the Orion Nebula

March 28, 2013

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 ...

Recommended for you

STEREO—10 years of revolutionary solar views

October 26, 2016

Launched 10 years ago, on Oct. 25, 2006, the twin spacecraft of NASA's STEREO mission – short for Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory – have given us unprecedented views of the sun, including the first-ever simultaneous ...


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.