Orion Nebula: Peering into the Orion Nebula

Description: 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.


Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray


Date: c. 2007


Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2007/orion/


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Collection: X-rays Collection - X-rays are electromagnetic radiations beyond ultra-violet which form a shadow image of the internal structure of the object when passed through a solid object and allowed to act upon a sensitive emulsion.


Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/E.Feigelson & K.Getman et al.;

Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/M. Robberto et al.


Accession number: orion_nebula

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Taken on September 30, 2008