Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2023 October 10
The center of the Orion Nebula is seen in infrared light
as imaged by the James Webb Space Telescope. In the center is
the Trapezium Star Cluster. The main image is in near infrared
light, while the rollover image is in mid-infrared light.
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Hidden Orion from Webb
Image Credit & License: NASA, ESA, CSA, JWST; Processing: M. McCaughrean & S. Pearson

Explanation: The Great Nebula in Orion has hidden stars. To the unaided eye in visible light, it appears as a small fuzzy patch in the constellation of Orion. But this image was taken by the Webb Space Telescope in a representative-color composite of red and very near infrared light. It confirms with impressive detail that the Orion Nebula is a busy neighborhood of young stars, hot gas, and dark dust. The rollover image shows the same image in representative colors further into the near infrared. The power behind much of the Orion Nebula (M42) is the Trapezium - a cluster of bright stars near the nebula's center. The diffuse and filamentary glow surrounding the bright stars is mostly heated interstellar dust. Detailed inspection of these images shows an unexpectedly large number of Jupiter-Mass Binary Objects (JuMBOs), pairs of Jupiter-mass objects which might give a clue to how stars are forming. The whole Orion Nebula cloud complex, which includes the Horsehead Nebula, will slowly disperse over the next few million years.

APOD editor to speak: in Houghton, Michigan on Thursday, October 12 at 6 pm
Tomorrow's picture: star gone

< | Archive | Submissions | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.