The Great Nebula in Orion

The Great Nebula in Orion is a colorful place. Visible to the unaided eye,
it appears as a small fuzzy patch in the constellation of Orion. Long exposure,
digitally sharpened images like this, however, show the Orion Nebula to be a
busy neighborhood of young stars, hot gas, and dark dust. The power behind much
of the Orion Nebula (M42) is the Trapezium - four of the brightest stars in the
nebula. Many of the filamentary structures visible are actually shock waves - fronts
where fast moving material encounters slow moving gas. The Orion Nebula spans about
40 light years and is located about 1500 light years away in the same spiral arm of
our Galaxy as the Sun.