M42 Orion nebula

M42 Orion nebula

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Caption: Optical photograph of the Orion Nebula (M42), the nearest (1600 light years away) & thus one of the brightest emission nebulae. An emission nebula is a region of hot interstellar gas & dust lit up by ultraviolet radiation from hot newly formed stars at the centre. It is just visible to the naked eye as a luminous patch in the centre of Orion's Sword.

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Keywords: astronomy, cosmology, evolution, m42, ngc 1976, optical astronomy, orion nebula, science, star birth, starbirth, stellar formation

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