The most famous of the nebulae. Galileo missed this object
entirely, but William Herschel had the eerie foresight to call it "the
chaotic material of future suns."
It's a star forming region, all right, one of the closest at a mere 1600 lightyears. There is enough material here for 10,000 stars like the sun. This image is of the bright central region, an irregular cloud about six lightyears across. The four stars in the center (the Trapezium) have recently formed and provide the energy to light up the nebula.
You can find this object in the Sword of Orion, just under the three famous belt stars. Binoculars are enough. Please click HERE to see a film image of this nebula. There is also an Hydrogen Alpha image of this region as well. Finally, you can find a wide field image of this region as well.
|R G B color production was used to create this image.||
Minimum credit line: Jim Rada/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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