messier 43

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Messier 42 - Orion Nebula by Rüdiger
Via Flickr:
2x1 Mosaic. Each panel 11x5 min R/G/B. APM LZOS 130/780 with Riccardi Reducer and ATIK ONE 9.0 with Baader RGB filter

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Messier Monday: Orion’s Second Nebula, M43

“A closer inspection reveals that there are actually a great many young stars that have formed inside, but it’s only the most massive, most luminous ones that dominate. Deep within the dust, here, it’s probable that there are at least hundreds of additional stars simply beyond our power to view them.

Furthermore, what’s incredibly interesting is that the bright, central star would have passed within just 109 light-years of us some 9 million years ago based on its current orbit, making it one of the brightest stars in our sky. But it *probably didn’t exist* that long ago, having formed much more recently than that!”

It’s the last object in our 110-object tour of the Messier catalogue, and trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

Messier 43 - De Mairan’s Nebula

M43, although apparently an individual star-forming region, is actually a part of the Orion Nebula and the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. As with its parent nebula, M43 features emission and reflection nebulae, as well as dark nebulae. It was discovered by Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan before 1731 and catalogued by Charles Messier in 1764. If you can find the Orion Nebula, you can find M43!

Top: Wide-Field - AAO/David Malin

Bottom: Close-Up - NASA