Astronomy Picture of the Day

UKIRT: Aloha Orion

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UKIRT: Aloha Orion


At the edge of a dense
, 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
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
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
has been
mapped into visible colors.

Red represents narrow-band infrared emission from hydrogen
molecules at a wavelength of 2.12
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

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