The Orion Nebula in Visible Light
2007-01-01 - This composite image compares infrared and visible light views of the famous Orion Nebula, a nearby large region of star formation, and its surrounding clouds. In addition to Orion, which is in the lower half of the image, two other nebulae are present. The small nebula above and to the left of Orion, is called M43 and the nebula at the very top of the image is NGC 1977. Each nebula is surrounded by a ring of dust that is clearly visible in infrared light. These rings are created by the radiation and winds of the massive stars that formed in the region. In visible light, the gas heated by the ultraviolet radiation of these stars can be clearly seen.
Above the Orion Nebula, the image in visible light is rather dark. However, the infrared image makes it possible to see through the dust to reveal stars being formed (in green in the infrared image). (Credit: Filip Lolic)
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