"This wide-field view of the Orion Nebula (Messier 42), lying about 1350 light-years from Earth, was taken with the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.The new telescope’s huge field of view allows the whole nebula and its surroundings to be imaged in a single picture and its infrared vision also means that it can peer deep into the normally hidden dusty regions and reveal the curious antics of the very active young stars buried there."
After the Vikings, but long before anyone thought to ask “What does the fox say?”, Norway gave us stave churches.
This is the Borgund stave church, in the west-central Norwegian county of Sogn og Fjordane. It is a medieval wooden church built sometime between 1180 and 1250 AD, with later additions and restorations. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name “stave church”. The four corner posts were connected to one another by ground sills, resting on a stone foundation. This is one of the best preserved of Norway’s 28 remaining stave churches. Of these, I have visited six so far. The craftsmanship, beauty, and durability of these structures is remarkable, especially considering that they are made of wood, and that they are upwards of 800 years old.
A massive star is illuminating this small region, called M43, and sculpting the landscape of dust and gas. Astronomers call the area a miniature Orion Nebula because of its small size and the single star that is shaping it. The Orion Nebula itself is much larger and has four hefty stars that are carving the dust-and-gas terrain.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a close-up view of an outer part of the Orion Nebula’s little brother, Messier 43. This nebula, which is sometimes referred to as De Mairan’s Nebula after its discoverer, is separated from the famous Orion Nebula (Messier 42) by only a dark lane of dust. Both nebulae are part of the massive stellar nursery called the Orion molecular cloud complex, which includes several other nebulae, such as the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) and the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024).
The Orion molecular cloud complex is about 1400 light-years away, making it one of the closest massive star formation regions to Earth. Hubble has therefore studied this extraordinary region extensively over the past two decades, monitoring how stellar winds sculpt the clouds of gas, studying young stars and their surroundings and discovering many elusive objects, such as brown dwarf stars.
This view shows several of the brilliant hot young stars in this less-studied region and it also reveals many of the curious features around even younger stars that are still cocooned by dust.
De Mairan’s Nebula, Messier 43 or M43 (also designated NGC 1982), is a nebula in the constellation Orion. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 9 and its angular diameter is 20x15 arc-minutes. M43 lies at an estimated distance of 1600 light years and is best seen during the winter. The Messier Winter Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season. As one of the more famous objects in the Messier Catalog, it is commonly known as the De Mairan´s Nebula.
The teardrop shaped De Mairan’s Nebula is physically part of the much larger Great Nebula in Orion (M42) although it appears separated by a dark dust lane in the foreground. The entire area is a complex region of active star formation where some of the hotest and brightest stars are coalescing. Composed of glowing gas and dark dust, M43 and M42 are part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. This huge region also includes the Horsehead Nebula located south of Zeta Orionis (Alnitak), the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion.