|Few cosmic vistas excite the imagination like
the Orion Nebula.
Also known as
the nebula's glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an
molecular cloud only 1,500 light-years away.
The Orion Nebula offers one of the best opportunities
to study how stars are born partly because it is the nearest large
but also because the nebula's
energetic stars have
obscuring gas and dust clouds that would otherwise block
our view - providing an intimate look at a
range of ongoing stages
starbirth and evolution.
This detailed image of the
Orion Nebula is the sharpest ever, constructed using data from the
Hubble Space Telescope's
Advanced Camera for Surveys and the European Southern Observatory's
La Silla 2.2 meter telescope.
contains a billion pixels at full resolution
and reveals about 3,000 stars.