At the edge of a dense molecular cloud, filaments of gas, cosmic dust, and a multitude of young stars beckon in this penetrating image of the Orion Nebula.
Alluring structures in the well-known star forming region are revealed here in infrared light as viewed by a new Hawaiian eye - WFCAM - a powerful wide field camera commissioned at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Mauna Kea.
Only a fraction of WFCAM's full field, this picture covers about 11 light-years at the 1,500 light-year distance of the nebula.
In the image, otherwise invisible infrared light has been mapped into visible colors.
Red represents narrow-band infrared emission from hydrogen molecules at a wavelength of 2.12 microns, green is emission at 2.2 microns, and blue is emission at 1.25 microns.
Visible light has a wavelength of about 0.5 microns (micrometers).