The innermost part of the Orion Nebula (Messier 42, NGC 1976) taken in a filter emphasizing H-alpha emission, using the 1.1m Hall telescope of Lowell Observatory. This shows the intricate structure of the nebula as revealed by gas. The four bright stars constitute the Trapezium; most of the ionizing radiation for this part of the nebula comes from the hottest of these stars.
Much more detailed views have been obtained. There is a gorgeous mosaic with HST and WFPC2 showing what have been interpreted as protoplanetary disks around many forming stars. And peering through some of the dust cloud mostly lying behind the visible nebula, a new HST NICMOS near-infrared image shows a yet younger star cluster around the Becklin-Neugebauer object, still hidden from view in visible light.
Still to come: near-IR composite from the MDM 2.4m telescope.
Last changes: 5/2001 © 2001