Astronomy Picture of the Day

South of Orion

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South of Orion


This tantalizing array of nebulae and stars can be found
about 2 degrees south of the famous
star-forming Orion Nebula.

region abounds
with energetic young stars producing jets and
outflows that push through the surrounding
material at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second.

The interaction creates luminous shock
waves known as
Herbig-Haro (HH) objects.

For example, the graceful, flowing arc just right of center
is cataloged as HH 222, also called the Waterfall Nebula.

Seen below the Waterfall, HH 401 has a distinctive cone shape.

The bright bluish nebula below and left of center
is NGC 1999, a dusty cloud reflecting
light from an embedded variable star.

The entire cosmic vista
spans over 30 light-years, near the edge of the
some 1,500 light-years distant.

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