MOUNT STROMLO AND SIDING SPRING OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MOUNT STROMLO AND SIDING SPRING OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Orion nebula. Enhanced optical image of the great Orion nebula (M42 & M43, yellow, centre) and other nebulosity in the constellation Orion. The Orion nebula lies around 1500 light years from Earth, and is about 15 light years across. M42 and M43 are HII regions, areas of gas (mainly hydrogen) and dust where newly born stars excite the gas, causing it to glow. M42 and M43 are excited by a group of stars (the Trapezium) embedded in them. The stars are here obscured by the bright central region. This image was produced by a CCD (charge- coupled device) camera, which stores images electronically rather than on film.
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