Latest Orion Nebula Stories

2011-01-19 10:04:20

This ethereal-looking image of the Orion Nebula was captured using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile. This nebula is much more than just a pretty face, offering astronomers a close-up view of a massive star-forming region to help advance our understanding of stellar birth and evolution. The data used for this image were selected by Igor Chekalin (Russia), who participated in ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition....

2011-01-17 08:45:00

A NASA telescope carried in the rear of a modified 747 has managed to capture mid-infrared mosaic images of the Orion Nebula--a feat that no other observation device in the world can duplicate, the space agency reported during the annual American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) device, which snapped the pictures, was designed specifically to record colors typically blocked by the Earth's atmosphere, according to a Monday...

2011-01-05 08:10:00

This new infrared image of the Lagoon Nebula was captured as part of a five-year study of the Milky Way using ESO's VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. This is a small piece of a much larger image of the region surrounding the nebula, which is, in turn, only one part of a huge survey. Astronomers are currently using ESO's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) to scour the Milky Way's central regions for variable objects and map its structure in greater...

2010-10-06 09:45:00

A new infrared image from ESO's VISTA survey telescope reveals an extraordinary landscape of glowing tendrils of gas, dark clouds and young stars within the constellation of Monoceros (the Unicorn). This star-forming region, known as Monoceros R2, is embedded within a huge dark cloud. The region is almost completely obscured by interstellar dust when viewed in visible light, but is spectacular in the infrared. An active stellar nursery lies hidden inside a massive dark cloud rich in molecules...

2010-09-16 09:45:00

Enjoying a frozen treat on a hot summer day can leave a sticky mess as it melts in the Sun and deforms. In the cold vacuum of space, there is no edible ice cream, but there is radiation from massive stars that is carving away at cold molecular clouds, creating bizarre, fantasy-like structures. These one-light-year-tall pillars of cold hydrogen and dust, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, are located in the Carina Nebula. This image is a composite of Hubble observations taken of the Carina...

2010-08-30 06:50:00

A billowing cloud of hydrogen in the Triangulum galaxy (Messier 33), about 2.7 million light-years away from Earth, glows with the energy released by hundreds of young, bright stars. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image provides the sharpest view of NGC 604 so far obtained. Some 1500 light-years across, this is one of the largest, brightest concentrations of ionized hydrogen (H II) in our local group of galaxies, and is a major center of star formation. The gas in NGC 604, around nine...

2010-07-21 06:50:00

Using a combination of instruments on ESO's Very Large Telescope, a UK-led international team of astronomers have discovered the most massive stars to date, one which at birth had more than 300 times the mass of the Sun, twice as much as the currently accepted limit. The existence of these monsters "” millions of times more luminous than the Sun, losing mass through very powerful winds "” may provide an answer to the question "how massive can stars be?" The new results appear in a...

2010-07-13 07:34:40

A colorful star-forming region is featured in this stunning new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 2467. Looking like a roiling cauldron of some exotic cosmic brew, huge clouds of gas and dust are sprinkled with bright blue hot young stars. Strangely shaped dust clouds, resembling spilled liquids, are silhouetted against a colorful background of glowing gas in this newly released Hubble image. The star-forming region NGC 2467 is a vast cloud of gas "“ mostly hydrogen "“...

2010-05-11 09:50:00

A heavy runaway star is rushing away from a nearby stellar nursery at more than 250,000 miles an hour, a speed that will get you to the Moon and back in two hours. The runaway is the most extreme case of a very massive star that has been kicked out of its home by a group of even heftier siblings. The homeless star is on the outskirts of the 30 Doradus nebula, a raucous stellar breeding ground in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. The finding bolsters evidence that the most massive stars in...

2010-05-10 11:35:00

Astronomers this summer will take a close look at a rare cosmic cradle for the universe's largest stars, baby bruisers that grow up to have 50 times the sun's mass. The international team of astronomers headed by University of Florida scientist Peter Barnes used an Australian radio telescope to find the cloud of gas and dust 8,000 light years away in the Southern sky constellation Carina. The cloud is in the early stages of collapsing in on itself, offering astronomers an unusual vista on the...

Latest Orion Nebula Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planetary Nebula -- A planetary nebula is an astronomical object that usually appears nebulous and disk-like in low-resolution observations. Because of this appearance, similar to the appearance of planets in early observations, the "planetary" adjective was attached and has since been retained for historical consistency. According to current observations and models, planetary nebulae in fact have little to do with planets. Instead, as a small star (less than a few times the mass...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Saturn Nebula -- The layers of the Saturn Nebula give a complex picture of how this planetary nebula was created. The above picture, taken in April 1996 and released last week, allows a better understanding of the mysterious process that transformed a low-mass star into a white dwarf star. A computer model indicates that the central star of NGC 7009 first expelled the green gas that now appears barrel shaped. This green gas now confines stellar winds flowing from the central star,...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Owl Nebula -- Dicovered by Pierre Mchain in 1781. The Owl Nebula M97 is one of the fainter objects in Messier's catalog, discovered by Pierre Mchain on February 16, 1781. In his description of this object, Charles Messier also mentions two other nebulous objects that he (and Mchain) have seen at about the same time, but which he had not added in his printed catalog version of 1781 (in the Connaissance des Temps for 1784). As the description is obvious and he added positions by...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Orion Nebula -- Discovered 1610 by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. Located at a distance of about 1,600 (or perhaps 1,500) light years, the Orion Nebula is the brightest diffuse nebula in the sky, visible to the naked eye, and rewarding in telescopes of every size, from the smallest glasses to the greatest Earth-bound observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope. It is the main part of a much larger cloud of gas and dust which extends over 10 degrees well over half the constellation...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Hubble's Variable Nebula -- Hubble's variable nebula is named (like the Hubble telescope itself) after the American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, who carried out some of the early studies of this object. It is a fan-shaped cloud of gas and dust which is illuminated by R Monocerotis (R Mon), the bright star at the bottom end of the nebula. Dense condensations of dust near the star cast shadows out into the nebula, and as they move the illumination changes, giving rise to the variations first...

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Word of the Day
  • A Roman unit of weight, 1⁄1728 of a pound.
  • A weight of four grains used in weighing gold and precious stones; a carat.
  • In anatomy, a formation suggesting a husk or pod.
  • The lowest unit in the Roman coinage, the twenty-fourth part of a solidus.
  • A coin of base silver of the Gothic and Lombard kings of Italy.
'Siliqua' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a pod.'