Star Hall. The most prominent structures within the central region of the Orion constellation are the three blue stars of Orion’s belt and the famous Orion nebula M42 with its small round M43 nebula just atop which belongs to the same system. The surrounding of the left, eastern belt star is dominated by the red emission nebula IC434 that consists of glowing ionized hydrogen gas and dust. This structure extends below this belt star and is sharply bounded by a dark cloud to the left. This dense dust cloud forms the prominent black Horsehead nebula saliently visible in front of the glowing red gas. The extremely bright Orion nebula M42 in the lower part of the image is a giant star forming system with a visible diameter of 15 light years. Its center is home to many hot young stars, some being only 30.000 years old. Their energy-rich ultraviolet radiation causes the surrounding gas to glow. Many of these stars have protoplanetary discs surrounding them. The blue nebula atop M42 and M43 is the reflection nebula NGC 1977.
November 2009
Canon 5D MkII, Canon L 24-105mm, f/4, Composite of 6 images with 2, 8, 30 sec, 1, 3 und 6 min, ISO 1600, tripod, AstroTrac TT320 astronomical mount