Spitzer and Hubble Create Colorful Masterpiece

Stsci_2006-01q_1024

stsci_2006-01q January 11th, 2006

Credit: NASA, ESA, T. Megeath (University of Toledo) and M. Robberto (STScI)

A new image from NASA's Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes looks more like an abstract painting than a cosmic snapshot. The magnificent masterpiece shows the Orion nebula in an explosion of infrared, ultraviolet and visible-light colors. It was "painted" by hundreds of baby stars on a canvas of gas and dust, with intense ultraviolet light and strong stellar winds as brushes. At the heart of the artwork is a set of four monstrously massive stars, collectively called the Trapezium. These behemoths are approximately 100,000 times brighter than our sun. Their community can be identified as the yellow smudge near the center of the composite. The swirls of green were revealed by Hubble's ultraviolet and visible-light detectors. They are hydrogen and sulfur gases heated by intense ultraviolet radiation from the Trapezium's stars. Wisps of red, also detected by Spitzer, indicate infrared light from illuminated clouds containing carbon-rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. On Earth, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are found on burnt toast and in automobile exhaust. Additional stars in Orion are sprinkled throughout the image in a rainbow of colors. Spitzer exposed infant stars deeply embedded in a cocoon of dust and gas (orange-yellow dots). Hubble found less embedded stars (specks of green) and stars in the foreground (blue). Stellar winds from clusters of newborn stars scattered throughout the cloud etched all of the well-defined ridges and cavities. Located 1,500 light-years away from Earth, the Orion nebula is the brightest star in the sword of the hunter constellation. The cosmic cloud is also our closest massive star-formation factory, and astronomers suspect that it contains about 1,000 young stars. The Orion constellation can be seen in the fall and winter night skies from northern latitudes. The constellation's nebula is invisible to the unaided eye, but can be resolved with binoculars or small telescopes. This image is a false-color composite, in which light detected at wavelengths of 0.43, 0.50, and 0.53 microns is blue. Light with wavelengths of 0.6, 0.65, and 0.91 microns is green. Light of 3.6 microns is orange, and 8-micron light is red.

Provider: Space Telescope Science Institute

Image Source: https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2006/news-2006-01

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Orion Nebula M42 NGC 1976
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Appearance > Emission

Distance

Universescale1
1,500 light years
Stsci_2006-01q_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 5h 34m 56.5s
DEC = -5° 31’ 36.1”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
30.0 x 30.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Orion

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Purple Hubble (ACS) Optical (B) 440.0 nm
Blue Hubble (ACS) Optical (V) 550.0 nm
Green Hubble (ACS) Optical (Halpha) 656.0 nm
Yellow Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared 3.6 µm
Orange Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared 4.5 µm
Red Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared 8.0 µm
Spectrum_base
Purple
Blue
Green
Yellow
Orange
Red
Stsci_2006-01q_1280
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ID
2006-01q
Subject Category
B.4.2.1  
Subject Name
Orion Nebula , M42, NGC 1976
Credits
NASA, ESA, T. Megeath (University of Toledo) and M. Robberto (STScI)
Release Date
2006-01-11T00:00:00
Lightyears
1,500
Redshift
1,500
Reference Url
https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2006/news-2006-01
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
The distance to the Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years (460 parsecs).
Facility
Hubble, Hubble, Hubble, SST, SST, SST
Instrument
ACS, ACS, ACS, IRAC, IRAC, IRAC
Color Assignment
Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
B, V, Halpha, -, -, -
Central Wavelength
440, 550, 656, 3600, 4500, 8000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
2000.0
Reference Value
83.73532077870, -5.52670553949
Reference Dimension
6000.00, 6000.00
Reference Pixel
3660.92093188032, 4345.84468297281
Scale
-0.00008341660, 0.00008341660
Rotation
0.03619191068
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
World Coordinate System resolved using PinpointWCS 0.9.2 revision 218+ by the Chandra X-ray Center
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-H-p0601q-f-6000x6000.tif
Resource URL
https://mast.stsci.edu/api/latest/Download/file?uri=mast:OPO/product/STSCI-H-p0601q-f-6000x6000.tif
Related Resources
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2006/01
Metadata Date
2022-07-06T00:00:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
1,500 light years