The Dusty Spectacle of Orion : 2013

Photograph by

Robert Hurt

About this image

The Great Nebula in Orion is shown here to be a vast cloud of gas and dust, glowing in infrared and heated by large numbers of new stars. This view spans about 100 light years, in the sky this would appear six times the size of the full Moon. The bright star cluster in the centre of the nebula is easily visible to the unaided eye as part of the ‘sword’ in the constellation Orion. The infrared radiation seen here has been colour coded according to its wavelength: cooler, longer wavelengths are shown in green and cyan; hotter, shorter wavelengths in white and red. The data for this image were captured by NASA’s Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA