Optical photograph of the Orion Nebula

Optical photograph of the Orion Nebula

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Credit: RONALD ROYER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The Orion Nebula (M42), a bright cloud of gas & dust where stars are in the process of being born. Located 1600 light years away in the constellation of Orion, M42's fan-shaped traceries are spread out over 15 light years of space. Radiation from the new stars in the Nebula light up its gas; the weaker radiation reaching the outer regions causes hydrogen gas to glow its characteristic red colour (at a wavelength of 656 nanometres) in this true- colour amateur photograph taken with an 18-inch telescope. 18", f/7, tricolor, masked centre.

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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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