Hubble Space Telescope
The Orion Nebula
An image from NASA's Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes looks more like an abstract painting than a cosmic snapshot. It shows the Orion nebula in an explosion of infrared, ultraviolet and visible-light colors. At the heart is a set of four massive stars, called the Trapezium. These are 100,000 times brighter than our sun.
The swirls of green were revealed by Hubble's ultraviolet and visible-light detectors. They are hydrogen and sulfur gases heated by intense ultraviolet radiation from the Trapezium's stars. Wisps of red, detected by Spitzer, indicate infrared light from illuminated clouds containing carbon-rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Credit: NASA, ESA, T. Megeath (University of Toledo) and M. Roberto (STScI)
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