JASON WARE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JASON WARE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Orion nebula. Optical image of the great Orion nebula (M42 & M43, pink), with NGC 1977 (blue) above. North is at top. 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. M42 and M43 are excited by a group of stars (the Trapezium) embedded in them. The stars are obscured here by the bright central region. NGC 1977 is a reflection nebula, which reflects the light of stars embedded in it. Reflection nebulae typically appear blue as blue light is scattered more than red.
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