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Orion Nebula: Region of Star Formation

Type of Object:  The Orion Nebula is a giant cloud of gas and dust, very active in star formation.  Four central stars to the nebula, called the Trapezium, are responsible for ionizing the gas surrounding them and causing the glowing nebula. Behind the visible nebulosity is a large molecular cloud.

Distance: 1500 light years (= 1.4 x 1016 km = 8.87 x 1015 miles or 8870 tera miles)
Size: 15 light years across (= 1.4 x 1014 km = 8.87 x 1013 miles or about 9 tera miles)
Coordinates (Epoch J2000):
Right Ascension:  5h 35m 17.4s
         Declination:          -5o 23 27.99

Other Names: M42, The Great Nebula in Orion, NGC 1976

Radio Brightness at 1420 MHz (21 cm): 410 Jy

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Location on the sky: The Orion Nebula is a winter object.  Look towards the south in January at about 9 pm and you will see three stars in a straight line, as shown in the figure to the right.  These 3 stars make the belt of the Orion constellation. The arrow in the figure shows the location of the Orion Nebula.

Images shown below, at different wavelengths, cover a
0.5 degree x 0.5 degree area of the sky centered on the nebula.  The images are taken from  the SKYVIEW Virtual Observatory maintained under NASA ADP Grant NAS5-32068 with P.I.
Thomas A. McGlynn under the auspices of the High Energy Astrophysics Science  Archive Research Center (HEASARC) at the GSFC Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics. SKYVIEW contains catalogs and surveys from x-ray to radio observations. The site is located at http://skyview.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Visible image from the
Near Earth Asteroid  Tracking (NEAT/SkyMorph) Project

Image taken at the radio
emission wavelength of
Carbon Monoxide (CO) at 115 GHz

Far-Infrared image at 100
microns taken by the I
nfrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) Survey.

Image taken at the radio emission of neutral hydrogen at 1420 MHz by the NRAO VLA Sky Survey

[Orion Nebula] [crab_nebula] [W3] [cas_a] [cygnus_a] [her_a] [vir_a] [galactic_center] [sgp] [ngp]