J-C CUILLANDRE / CANADA-FRANCE-HAWAII TELESCOPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY J-C CUILLANDRE / CANADA-FRANCE-HAWAII TELESCOPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Orion nebula. Optical image of the Orion nebula, containing two bright patches. North is at top. The larger patch is the Great Orion Nebula (M42, NGC 1976), which has a smaller neighbour known as de Mairan's Nebula (M43, NGC 1982). These nebulae lie 1500 light years away in the constellation Orion. M42 and M43 are areas of gas (mainly hydrogen) and dust where newly-born stars excite the gas and cause it to glow. Photographed by the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, on Big Island, Hawaii.
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