Hubble's sharpest view of the Orion Nebula

Spitzer_ssc2006-21a2_1024

spitzer_ssc2006-21a2 November 7th, 2006

Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto ( Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team

This dramatic image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. The image, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, represents the sharpest view ever taken of this region, called the Orion Nebula. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. These stars reside in a dramatic dust-and-gas landscape of plateaus, mountains, and valleys that are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon.

The Orion Nebula is a picture book of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars. The bright central region is the home of the four heftiest stars in the nebula. The stars are called the Trapezium because they are arranged in a trapezoid pattern. Ultraviolet light unleashed by these stars is carving a cavity in the nebula and disrupting the growth of hundreds of smaller stars. Located near the Trapezium stars are stars still young enough to have disks of material encircling them. These disks are called protoplanetary disks or "proplyds" and are too small to see clearly in this image. The disks are the building blocks of solar systems.

The bright glow at upper left is from M43, a small region being shaped by a massive, young star's ultraviolet light. Astronomers call the region a miniature Orion Nebula because only one star is sculpting the landscape. The Orion Nebula has four such stars. Next to M43 are dense, dark pillars of dust and gas that point toward the Trapezium. These pillars are resisting erosion from the Trapezium's intense ultraviolet light. The glowing region on the right reveals arcs and bubbles formed when stellar winds - streams of charged particles ejected from the Trapezium stars - collide with material.

The faint red stars near the bottom are the myriad brown dwarfs that Hubble spied for the first time in the nebula in visible light. Sometimes called "failed stars," brown dwarfs are cool objects that are too small to be ordinary stars because they cannot sustain nuclear fusion in their cores the way our Sun does. The dark red column, below, left, shows an illuminated edge of the cavity wall.

The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years away, the nearest star-forming region to Earth. Astronomers used 520 Hubble images, taken in five colors, to make this picture. They also added ground-based photos to fill out the nebula. The ACS mosaic covers approximately the apparent angular size of the full moon.

The Orion observations were taken between 2004 and 2005.

Provider: Spitzer Space Telescope

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6821-ssc2006-21a2-Hubble-s-sharpest-view-of-the-Orion-Nebula

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, Ca, USA

Image Use Policy: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Messier 42 Messier 43 Orion Nebula
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
Nebula > Appearance > Emission > H II Region

Distance

Universescale1
1,500 light years

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 5h 35m 9.7s
DEC = -5° 24’ 50.3”
Field of View
30.0 x 30.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Orion

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Red Hubble (ACS) Optical (Z) 1000.0 nm
Red Hubble (ACS) Optical (I) 800.0 nm
Orange Hubble (ACS) Optical (H-alpha) 656.0 nm
Green Hubble (ACS) Optical (V) 550.0 nm
Blue Hubble (ACS) Optical (B) 440.0 nm
Additional observational data from the WFI instrument on the ESO.MPG 2.2-metre telescope.
Spectrum_base
Red
Red
Orange
Green
Blue
Spitzer_ssc2006-21a2_1280
×
ID
ssc2006-21a2
Subject Category
B.4.1.2   B.4.2.1.1  
Subject Name
Messier 42, Messier 43, Orion Nebula
Credits
NASA, ESA, M. Robberto ( Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team
Release Date
2006-11-07
Lightyears
1,500
Redshift
1,500
Reference Url
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6821-ssc2006-21a2-Hubble-s-sharpest-view-of-the-Orion-Nebula
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble, Hubble, Hubble, Hubble, Hubble
Instrument
ACS, ACS, ACS, ACS, ACS
Color Assignment
Red, Red, Orange, Green, Blue
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
Z, I, H-alpha, V, B
Central Wavelength
1000, 800, 656, 550, 440
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
A
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
83.7905320053, -5.41397796614
Reference Dimension
18000.0, 18000.0
Reference Pixel
9000.0, 9000.0
Scale
-2.78028143237e-05, 2.78028143237e-05
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Data is calculated based on Simbad coordinates! Using this image as an overlay on a DSS background, a 5 arcsec (or so) difference is expected to be seen!
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
https://astropix.ipac.caltech.edu/image/spitzer/ssc2020-12a
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
Ca
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
ssc2006-21a2.jpg
Metadata Date
2020-08-03
Metadata Version
×

 

Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

×
Universescalefull
1,500 light years