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The Orion Nebula
The Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula is a turbulent stellar nursery where more than 3,000 stars are being born. It lies in the "sword region" of the constellation Orion, the Hunter. It is the closest stellar nursery to Earth.

The nebula's outermost layers of gas and dust appear as a grayish veil. The grayish-colored gas that forms a prominent curve from lower left to upper right can be thought of as the "rim" of a giant carved bowl. Descending into the bowl, we encounter a plateau-like region (reddish in color).

The bright central cavern takes us deeper yet. Called the Trapezium, it is the home of the four most massive stars in Orion. The light unleashed by these stars is carving a cavity around them and disrupting the growth of less massive stars.

Above and to the left of the bright central cavity is another smaller, bright region being sculpted by a young, massive star at its core.

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Credit: NASA,ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team