Orion Nebula Earth’s closest known star factory
The three stars in a short, straight row represent Orion’s Belt. A curved line of stars hangs from the Belt that represents Orion’s Sword. The Orion Nebula can be seen as a fuzzy object, about midway down in the Sword. This image – from the European Southern Observatory – was made using optical aid. Likewise, binoculars will help you see the nebula, and a telescope will show even more detail.
Many people are familiar with Orion, the most noticeable of all constellations. The three stars of Orion’s Belt jump out at you midway between Orion’s two brightest stars, Betelgeuse and Rigel, which are two of the brightest stars in the sky. Once you find the Belt stars, you can also locate the Orion Nebula, otherwise known as M42, a stellar nursery where new stars are being born. If you look closely, you’ll notice a curved line of stars “hanging” from the three Belt stars. These stars represent Orion’s Sword. Look for the Orion Nebula about midway down in the Sword of Orion.
The four brightest stars in the Orion Nebula can be seen through amateur astronomers’ telescopes and are affectionately known as The Trapezium. The light of the young, hot Trapezium stars illuminate the Orion Nebula. These stars are only a million or so years old – mere babes in the lifetime of a star.
But most of the stars in this emerging cluster are veiled behind the Orion Nebula itself, the great stellar nursery in Orion’s Sword.
Orion Nebula’s position is Right Ascension: 5h 35.4m; Declination: 5o 27′ south
What science says about the Orion Nebula. According to modern astronomers, the Orion Nebula is an enormous cloud of gas and dust, one of many in our Milky Way galaxy. It lies roughly 1,300 light-years from Earth.
At some 30 to 40 light-years in diameter, this great big nebulous cocoon is giving birth to perhaps a thousand stars. A young open star cluster, whose stars were born at the same time from a portion of the nebula and are still loosely bound by gravity, can be seen within the nebula. It is sometimes called the Orion Nebula Star Cluster. In 2012, an international team of astronomers suggested this cluster in the Orion Nebula might have a black hole at its heart.
Cosmic ‘bullets’ slam Orion nebula in dazzling photo
The gas clumps leave behind tubular wakes as much as one-fifth of a light-year in length
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–>Astronomers have unveiled a spectacular new photo of cosmic “bullets” slicing through thick gas clouds at supersonic speeds in the famed Orion nebula.
The so-called Orion bullets are actually enormous clumps of gas packed with iron atoms, scientists said. They appear as distinctive blue features in the new image captured by the Gemini South Observatory in Chile.
Each cosmic bullet is about 10 times the size of Pluto’s orbit around the sun, researchers said. Pluto is about 49 times farther from the sun than the Earth, which is only 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) away.
The new image, which scientists revealed on Wednesday (Jan. 9), was obtained on the night of Dec. 28 using a new adaptive optics system at the Gemini Observatory South telescope in Chile. The system is equipped with five laser guide stars and three deformable mirrors to correct image distortions from the Earth’s atmosphere in real time, researchers said.
“For years our team has focused on developing this system, and to see this magnificent image, just hinting at its scientific potential, made our nights on the mountain — while most folks were celebrating the New Year’s holiday — the best celebration ever!” Benoit Neichel, who leads this adaptive optics program for Gemini, said in a statement.
Astronomers think the cosmic bullets were ejected from deep within the nebula, likely propelled by strong winds expelling gas at supersonic speeds from a region of massive star formation outside, and below, this image’s field-of-view.
The gas clumps leave behind tubular wakes as much as one-fifth of a light-year in length, which are the result of molecular hydrogen gas being heated up in the nebula.
At 1,500 light-years away, the Orion nebula is Earth’s closest known star factory. Scientists suspect the sun was born in a similar environment about 4.5 billion years ago. The Orion nebula’s bullets were first spotted in a visible-light image in 1983, and followed up by infrared observations in 1992.
Divisional round of the playoffs
When: 4:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 12, 2013
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
LINE: Broncos -9.5, O/U 46
For the Ray Lewis retirement tour to continue, the Baltimore Ravens will have to overcome an imposing obstacle when they visit Peyton Manning and the top-seeded Denver Broncos on Saturday in the AFC divisional round. Manning, in his first season in Denver, guided the white-hot Broncos to 11 consecutive victories to close out the regular season. Among those wins was a dominating 34-17 rout of the Ravens in Baltimore less than a month ago – a game Denver led 31-3 after three quarters. It was Manning’s ninth straight victory over the Ravens.
Lewis returned from a 10-game absence to register a team-high 13 tackles and spark an emotional 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts a week ago. Unlike the Broncos, Baltimore stumbled down the stretch and lost four of its final five games before beating the Colts and permitting its fewest points since a 13-10 victory at Pittsburgh in Week 11. Still, the once-vaunted defense remains susceptible, allowing Indianapolis to hold the ball for more than 37 minutes.
Denver has not lost since a 31-21 defeat at New England on Oct. 7. Much has been made about the lack of quality competition during the winning streak, but the Broncos limited Baltimore to 56 yards rushing and 278 total. Manning had a rather pedestrian performance, throwing for a season-low 204 yards and one touchdown. He finished the season with back-to-back three-touchdown games, giving him 37 TDs vs. only 11 interceptions. Wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker each went over 1,000 yards and combined to catch 23 scoring passes. Knowshon Moreno, who took over for an injured Willis McGahee in the final six weeks, rushed for 115 yards and a score against Baltimore. Denver’s defense, led by the pass-rushing tandem of linebacker Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, has peaked down the stretch and surrendered only 45 points in its final four games.
That was the score 1 month ago, that’ll be the score again. Yes, Ray Ray’s back, big tearful retirement – but he already played his final home game..,… So much camera face time, seemed like it was “In memorial” already. Plus, I just can’t pull the trigger against Manning at home, just like I can’t against Belichick & Brady
When Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies entered the Castro Valley home on Tuesday, they not only found 34 pounds of marijuana valued at an estimated $100,000, but also the 5-foot-long caiman inside a Plexiglas tank guarding it in a bedroom.
Assif Mayar was arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale. He could also face citations from the California Fish and Game Commission, including possession of an exotic animal without a permit.
The 32-year-old told deputies he got the creature to commemorate rapper Tupac Shakur’s 1996 death.
“We have come across alligators before, but nobody can remember one this big and situated in such close proximity to act sort of as a sentry to the marijuana,” Nelson said.
Officials at the Oakland Zoo said Mr. Teeth died Wednesday, a day after it was seized by county animal control officers.
The caiman was very sick when it arrived at the zoo’s veterinary hospital, zoo spokesman Nicky Mora said Thursday.
“The veterinarian said he came in with a poor prognosis and was unresponsive when he arrived here. He passed away overnight,” Mora said.