|Orion in Gas, Dust, and Stars |
The constellation of Orion holds much more than three stars in a row.
A deep exposure shows everything from dark nebula to star clusters,
all embedded in an extended
gaseous wisps in the greater
The brightest three stars
on the far left are indeed the
famous three stars that make up the
belt of Orion.
Just below Alnitak, the lowest of the
three belt stars, is the
Flame Nebula, glowing with
excited hydrogen gas and immersed in filaments of dark brown dust.
Below the frame center and just to the right of
Alnitak lies the
Horsehead Nebula, a
dark indentation of
dense dust that has perhaps the most recognized nebular shapes on the sky.
On the upper right lies
an energetic caldron of tumultuous gas,
visible to the unaided eye,
that is giving birth to a
new open cluster of stars.
Immediately to the left of
is a prominent bluish reflection nebula sometimes called the
Running Man that houses many bright
The above image, a digitally stitched composite taken over several nights, covers an area with objects that are roughly 1,500
light years away and spans about 75 light years.