Orion’s Other Nebula

(Slate::Bad Astronomy) – Phil Plait:

The constellation of Orion is named after a great hunter, but if we wanted to be scientifically accurate, it should be named after a nursery instead.

After all, thousands of stars are being born in the direction.

The Great Nebula of Orion, M42, is a classic star-forming gas cloud, visible to the naked eye as the middle star in Orion’s “dagger.” And while M42 gets all the press, right next to it is a smaller but no less dramatic nebula, M43. Stars are forming there, too, and when you mix young, massive, hot stars and dense clouds of gas and dust, what you get is beauty. …


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