Space Saturday XXXIII

Well it has been over two years since I have posted a Space Saturday! That’s pretty ridiculous. Let’s get a new one up, shall we? I bring in the new year with this: The Constellation Orion!

“Orion: From Head to Toe” (Click for larger imageSource.)

Hopefully you are able to recognize the constellation Orion as it is one of the most recognizable asterisms in the Northern Hemisphere’s night sky. What you may not be familiar with is the mess of stuff visible in the image above. From the description:

Cradled in cosmic dust and glowing hydrogen, stellar nurseries in Orion the Hunter lie at the edge of a giant molecular cloud some 1,500 light-years away. Spanning nearly 25 degrees, this breath-taking vista stretches across the well-known constellation from head to toe. The Great Orion Nebula,the closest large star forming region, is right of center. To its left are the Horsehead Nebula, M78, and Orion’s belt stars. In this 3×8 mosaic of broadband telescopic images, additional image data acquired with a narrow hydrogen alpha filter was used to bring out the pervasive tendrils of energized atomic hydrogen gas and the arc of the giant Barnard’s Loop. You can also find Betelgeuse at the hunter’s shoulder (upper left), bright blue Rigel at his foot (lower right), and the glowing Lambda Orionis (Meissa) nebula at the top, near Orion’s head. Of course, the Orion Nebula and bright stars are easy to see with the unaided eye, but dust clouds and emission from the extensive interstellar gas in this nebula-rich complex, are too faint and much harder to record.

Good way to start off the year, isn’t it? It is pretty incredible to think that when we look at the bright stars of Orion there is so much more there that we cannot see with our eyes! Be sure to check out the larger image because it is gorgeous!

Be sure to stop by my Space Saturday Archive for previous editions!

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