This image from the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) 4-meter telescope shows a roughly one-half-degree-square region of the sky in the constellation Orion (about the same size as the diameter of the full Moon). This is a small part of the the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a giant region of gas and dust undergoing active star formation some 1,500 light-years (460 parsecs) away.
Numerous small knots known as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, labeled in white on the illustration, are signatures of recently formed stars ejecting material into space. The three HH objects labeled in green have been the subjects of intense study by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope over several years, resulting in a better understanding of how the material ejected from stars interacts with the surrounding medium. A few of the brighter stars in the image are labeled in yellow.
The color image is a composite of data taken through filters sampling light emitted by sulfur (red), hydrogen (green), and oxygen (blue). Full-resolution images and additional information are available at:
Object Name: Orion Complex
Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration
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