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The Sword of Orion
Ssc2006 16c1

Credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF/A. Block/R. Steinberg

Observation • August 14th, 2006 • ssc2006-16c1


This image shows a visible light view of the famous Orion nebula and its surrounding cloud, an industrious star-making region located near the hunter constellation's sword. The image is from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, headquartered in Tucson, Ariz.

In addition to Orion, two other nebulas can be seen. The Orion nebula, or M42, is the largest and takes up the lower half of the image; the small nebula to the upper left of Orion is called M43; and the medium-sized nebula at the top is NGC 1977.

Above the Orion nebula, where the massive stars have not yet ejected much of the obscuring dust, the visible image appears dark with only a faint glow.

About the Object

Orion NebulaMessier 42M42NGC 1976
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
1,450 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Optical 440 nm KPNO
Optical 550 nm KPNO
Optical 700 nm KPNO


Position (J2000)
RA =5h 35m 16.3s
Dec = -6° 0' 51.2"
Field of View
0.8 x 1.4 degrees
North is up