TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Orion Nebula. Optical image showing part of the Orion Nebula (M42), a HII region. It is a cloud of dust and interstellar gas, mainly hydrogen, which is ionised and lit up by a cluster of young stars called the Trapezium (centre). This is a small group of extremely hot stars which are able to ionise the surrounding cloud of hydrogen gas with their ultraviolet radiation. The Orion Nebula is the nearest HII region (1500 light years from the Earth) and it contains many infrared sources in which star formation takes place.
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