Orion Nebula

Posted: October 6, 2012 by noxprognatus in Science

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At the Heart of Orion 
CreditImage Data – Hubble Legacy ArchiveProcessing – Robert Gendler

Explanation: Near the center of this sharp cosmic portrait, at the heart of the Orion Nebula, are four hot, massive stars known as the Trapezium. Gathered within a region about 1.5 light-years in radius, they dominate the core of the dense Orion Nebula Star Cluster. Ultraviolet ionizing radiation from the Trapezium stars, mostly from the brightest star Theta 1 Orionis C powers the complex star forming region’s entire visible glow. About three million years old, the Orion Nebula Cluster was even more compact in its younger years and a recent dynamical study indicates that runaway stellar collisions at an earlier age may have formed a black hole with more than 100 times the mass of the Sun. The presence of a black hole within the cluster could explain the observed high velocities of the Trapezium stars, The Orion Nebula’s distance of some 1500 light-years would make it the closest known black hole to planet Earth.

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