Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2005 January 6
Explanation: At the edge of a dense molecular cloud, 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 are 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 (UKIRT) 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 infrared light has been mapped into visible colours. Red represents narrow-band infrared emission from hydrogen molecules at a wavelength of 2.12 microns, 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 (micrometres).
Authors & editors:
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.