Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier Object 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a glowing nebula with a greenish hue and is situated below Orion's Belt. It is one of the brightest diffuse nebulae visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of about 1,600 light years from the planet Earth, is 33 light years across, and can be seen clearly through even low-power binoculars, particularly from dark sky locations.
The Orion Nebula contains a very young open cluster, with many stars still in their early years. Observations with powerful telescopes (especially the Hubble Space Telescope) have found stars enclosed in dust rings , probably the first phase of a planetary system formation.
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