Orion in Gas, Dust, and Stars
The constellation of Orion holds much more than three stars in a row. A deep exposure shows everything from dark nebula to star clusters, all embedded in an extended patch of Alnitak, the lowest of the excited hydrogen gas and immersed in filaments of dark brown dust. Below and left of the frame center and just to the right of Alnitak lies the M42, the Orion Nebula, an energetic caldron of blue stars. Thefeatured image covers an area with objects that are roughly 1,500 light years away and spans about 75 light years.