Pillars of Gas
Orion Nebula , M42, NGC 1976
The distance to the Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years (460 parsecs).
The Hubble image was created from HST data from proposal 10246: M. Robberto (STScI/ESA), C.R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt University), L.A. Hillenbrand (Caltech), M. Simon (SUNY Stony Brook), P. McCullough (STScI), J. Krist (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), F. Palla (Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri), M. Romaniello (ESO – Germany), J. Najita (NOAO/AURA), E.D. Feigelson (The Pennsylvania State University), R. Makidon (STScI), J. Stauffer (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); N. Panagia, I.N. Reid, D.R. Soderblom, and E. Bergeron (STScI); and K.G. Stassun (Vanderbilt University).
The Hubble data was superimposed onto a ground-based image taken from the 2.2 meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory – La Silla.
ACS: F435W (B), F555W (V), F658N (Halpha) , F775W (i), and F850LP (z)
ESO: BB#B/99_ESO842 B, NB#OIII/8_ESO859 [O III], ESO NB#Halpha/7_ESO856, and ESO NB#SIIr/8_ESO857 [S II]
This image is a composite mosaic of many separate expposures made by the ACS instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope and the ESO La Silla 2.2 meter telescope using several different filters isolating the light of specific elements or of specific broad wavelength ranges. The color arises by assigning different hues (colors), to each monochromatic image. In this case, the colors are:
Blue: ACS F435W (B) + ESO BB#B/99_ESO842 B
Green: ACS F555W (V) + ESO NB#OIII/8_ESO859 [O III]
Red-orange: ACS F658N (Halpha)
Red: ACS F775W (i) + F850LP (z) + ESO NB#Halpha/7_ESO856 + ESO NB#SIIr/8_ESO857 [S II]
These dense, dark pillars of dust and gas are resisting erosion from intense ultraviolet light released by the Orion Nebula's biggest stars.