Orion Nebula

CXC Logo
Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden St. Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Orion Nebula: A rich cluster of young stars about 1,500 light years from Earth.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/E.Feigelson & K.Getman et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/M. Robberto et al. )

Caption: The Orion Nebula is one of the closest star formation regions from Earth at a distance of 1,500 light years. A favorite for amateur astronomers and casual sky watchers, Orion is seen as never before in this composite image created from Chandra and Hubble data. The wispy filaments seen by Hubble (pink and purple) are clouds of gas and dust that provide the material used as fuel by young stars. The bright point-like sources (blue and orange) are newly formed stars captured in X-ray light by Chandra. These fledgling stars are seen to flare in their X-ray intensity, which suggests that our Sun had many violent and energetic outbursts when it was much younger.

Scale: Image is 5.5 arcmin across.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory