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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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Orion Nebula, Emily Hamstra

Orion Nebula

M 42 is an emission nebula found in the constellation Orion. This nebula is often called the Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula is the brightest nebula in the sky. Only 1,500-1,600 light years away from Earth, the Orion Nebula is one of the closest nebulae to earth. It is visible with the naked eye as the center of Orion's sward. Most of the Orion Nebula is made of a cloud of gas and dust which extends out several light years from the nebula. M 42 covers four times the area of the Earth's full moon. Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, a French lawyer, was the first to discover the wonder of the Orion Nebula in 1610. Since then, the Orion Nebula has become the favorite astronomical site for many amateur astronomers as well as the Hubble Space Telescope.

The glowing purple cloud surrounding the nebula as seen above, trails across half of the entire Orion constellation. The compressing layers of gas can be seen in the middle of the nebula as sources of bright light. This bright light is emitted by four new stars in the heart of the nebula. M 42 has a magnitude of 4, angular size of about 7 minutes, and a linear size of about 3 light years.

Right Ascension (J2000) 5h35.4m
Declination (J2000) -5° 27'
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter

100 seconds in C, 300 s in R, 600 s in B, 1000 s in V

Date observed

March 31, 2005 (BVRC)



M 42 (http://seds.org/messier/m/m042.html)

Volume Visualization of the Orion Nebula (http://vis.sdsc.edu/research/orion.html)