Related topics: spitzer space telescope

NASA, ESA reveal tale of death, dust in Orion constellation

A new image combining previously released data from three telescopes shows a region that includes the Orion Nebula, named after the mighty hunter from Greek mythology who was felled by a scorpion's sting. But the story of ...

Martian rock winds back the clock

Almost 10 million years ago, a meteorite crashed into Earth. Hidden inside were 23 microscopic grains which tell the story of how Mars evolved.

'Yoyo stars' found responsible for off-center cosmic bubbles

Astronomers have developed a new model to simulate the formation of a cluster of baby stars. Comparison with the well-known real case of the Orion Nebula shows that its off-center bubble of ionized gas was caused by a massive ...

Image: Hubble views an infant star's outburst

An energetic outburst from an infant star streaks across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This stellar tantrum—produced by an extremely young star in the earliest phase of formation—consists of an ...

Image: Hubble spots swirls of dust in the flame Nebula

The Flame Nebula, also called NGC 2024, is a large star-forming region in the constellation Orion that lies about 1,400 light-years from Earth. It's a portion of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, which includes such famous ...

Anatomy of the impact of a protostellar jet in the Orion Nebula

An international team led by researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has uncovered, with a high degree of detail, the physical and chemical effects of the impact of a protostellar jet in the interior ...

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Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated south[b] of Orion's Belt. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344±20 light years and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across. Older texts frequently referred to the Orion Nebula as the Great Nebula in Orion or the Great Orion Nebula. Yet older, astrological texts refer to it as Ensis (Latin for "sword"), which was also the name given to the star Eta Orionis, which can be seen close to the nebula from Earth.

The Orion Nebula is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky, and is among the most intensely studied celestial features. The nebula has revealed much about the process of how stars and planetary systems are formed from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers have directly observed protoplanetary disks, brown dwarfs, intense and turbulent motions of the gas, and the photo-ionizing effects of massive nearby stars in the nebula. There are also supersonic "bullets" of gas piercing the dense hydrogen clouds of the Orion Nebula. Each bullet is ten times the diameter of Pluto's orbit and tipped with iron atoms glowing bright blue. They were probably formed one thousand years ago from an unknown violent event.

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