|Few cosmic vistas excite the imagination like
the Orion Nebula,
an immense stellar nursery some 1,500 light-years away.
Spanning about 40 light-years across the region,
this new infrared image
from the Spitzer Space Telescope was constructed from data intended to
the brightness of the nebula's young stars, many still surrounded
by dusty, planet-forming disks.
Orion's young stars are only about 1 million years old,
compared to the Sun's age of 4.6 billion years.
The region's hottest stars are found in the
Trapezium Cluster, the brightest cluster
near picture center.
Spitzer's liquid helium
coolant ran out in May 2009,
so this false color view is from two
channels that still remain sensitive to
at warmer operating temperatures.
J. Stauffer (SSC/Caltech)