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Orion nebula

Orion nebula

R570/0141

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Credit

CANADA-FRANCE-HAWAII TELESCOPE / JEAN- CHARLES CUILLANDRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CANADA-FRANCE-HAWAII TELESCOPE / JEAN- CHARLES CUILLANDRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Orion nebula (M42). This is a huge cloud of gas and dust that glows due to ionisation of the hydrogen gas it contains by radiation from hot young stars embedded in it. The region is a stellar nursery, and the stars that power the nebula (a group called The Trapezium) are in the white region at centre. These stars formed from the coalescence of the nebula's gas through gravitational contraction. The Orion Nebula lies around 1500 light years from Earth in the constellation Orion.

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