A Protoplanetary Disk in the Orion Nebula
A Hubble Space Telescope view of a very young star (between 300,000 and a million years of age) surrounded by material left over from the star's formation. The cool, reddish star is about one fifth the mass of our Sun. The dark disk, seen in silhouette against the background of the Orion Nebula, is possibly a protoplanetary disk from which planets will form. The disk contains at least seven times the material as our Earth. The disk is 56 billion miles across (90 billion kilometers), or 7.5 times the diameter of our Solar System.
The Orion Nebula starbirth region is 1,500 light-years away, in the direction of the constellation Orion the Hunter.
The image was taken on 29 December 1993 with the HST's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, WFPC2, in PC mode.
Credit: C.R. O'Dell/Rice University; NASA