News Release Archive:

News Release 137 of 168

May 12, 1997 11:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1997-13

Hubble Captures the Heart of the Orion Nebula

An Early Release Observation Release

May 12, 1997: The Hubble telescope's infrared vision is providing a dramatic new look at the beautiful Orion Nebula, which contains the nearest nursery for massive stars.

For comparison, Hubble's visible-light view of the nebula is on the left. The heart of the giant Orion molecular cloud, OMC-1, is included in the relatively dim and featureless area inside the blue outline near the top of the image. Light from a few foreground stars provides only a hint of the many other stars embedded in this dense cloud. Hubble's infrared camera reveals a chaotic, active star birth region [as seen in the right-hand picture]. Here, stars and glowing interstellar dust, heated by and scattering the intense starlight, appear yellow-orange.

NICMOS image: Rodger Thompson, Marcia Rieke, Glenn Schneider, Susan Stolovy (University of Arizona); Edwin Erickson (SETI Institute/Ames Research Center); David Axon (STScI), and NASA

WFPC2 image: C. Robert O'Dell, Shui Kwan Wong (Rice University) and NASA