Optical image of the Orion nebula

Optical image of the Orion nebula

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Caption: Orion nebula. Optical image of the Orion nebula (M42 & M43, centre) and the associated reflection nebula NGC 1977 (upper right). These nebulae lie around 1500 light years away in the constellation Orion. M42 and M43 are HII regions, areas of gas (mainly hydrogen) and dust where newly born stars excite the gas, causing it to glow. NGC 1977 is a reflection nebula, visible only as it reflects light from nearby stars. M42 and M43 are excited by a group of stars (the Trapezium) embedded in them. North is at top.

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Keywords: astronomy, cosmology, dust, evolution, hii region, interstellar, ionised hydrogen, m42, m42 and m43, m43, nebula, ngc 1977, orion, orion nebula, science, star birth, starbirth, stellar formation

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