| M42 & NGC 1977
The Great Nebula & The Running Man Nebula in Orion
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|M42 is probably the most frequently imaged "deep-sky"object. |
It's large, bright, easy to find, and stunningly beautiful. About 1350 light years from Earth, it's a region of the Milky Way Galaxy where stars are being formed. It's been called a "stellar nursery".
The combination of young, hot stars along with lots of gas and dust that hasn't yet been blown away by the radiation of the newly-formed stars makes an impressive sight.
NGC 1977 appears blue because this region is being directly illuminated by the bright stars in the cluster, and we see this as reflected light (just like moonlight). M42 shows appears more red because Much of its glow results when radiation from the stars within the nebula excite the gas, and the gas itself glows (sort of like a neon sign). Click on the image below for full resolution (1585x1173) Click here to see how this image was made