The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Orion Nebula • M42

Orion image

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Observers: John Stauffer

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Found in the sword of the constellation Orion, the Orion Nebula is a cloud of dust and gas that contains many young, hot stars. These stars heat up the nebula, causing it to shine brightly enough to be seen without a telescope.

  • Distance from Earth: 1344 light years
  • Size: 28 light years
  • Telescope: Spitzer/IRAC
  • Light: Infrared (blue 3.6, orange 4.5 microns) kidori