The Birth of the Hunter

The constellation of Orion (The Hunter) is one of the most recognisable collections of stars in the night sky. We have noted Orion’s prominent stars for tens of thousands of years at least, and likely far longer. Chinese astronomers called it 参宿 or Shēn, literally “three stars”, for its three bright dots (which form the Hunter’s belt). The ancient Egyptians regarded it as the gods Sah and Sopdet, manifestations of Osiris and Isis, respectively, whereas Greek astronomers saw a brave hunter — the eponymous Orion — with his sword above his head, ready to strike.

Mythology aside, Orion is a fascinating patch of sky. This image, from ESO's Very Large Telescope, shows a reflection nebula nestled at the heart of the constellation — NGC 2023. Located close to the well-known Horsehead and Flame Nebulae, NGC 2023 lurks about 1500 light-years away from Earth, and is one of the largest reflection nebulae in the sky.

Reflection nebulae are clouds of interstellar dust that reflect the light from nearby or internal sources, like fog around a car headlight. NGC 2023 is illuminated by a massive young star named HD 37903. The star is extremely hot — several times hotter than the Sun — and its bright blue-white light causes NGC 2023’s milky glow. Such nebulae are often the birthplaces of stars, and contain a clumpy distribution of gas that’s significantly denser than the surrounding medium. Under the influence of gravity, these clumps attract one another and merge, eventually creating a new star. In a few million years time, Orion's Belt may gain a new star!

The image was taken with the VLT’s FORS (FOcal Reducer and Spectrograph) instrument as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems programme. This initiative produces images of interesting and visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and outreach. The programme makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for science observations. All data collected may also be suitable for scientific purposes, and are made available to astronomers through ESO’s science archive.

Źródło:

ESO

O zdjęciu

Identyfikator:potw1919a
Typ:Obserwacje
Data publikacji:13 maja 2019 06:00
Rozmiar:1705 x 1767 px

O obiekcie

Nazwa:NGC 2023
Typ:Milky Way : Nebula : Appearance : Emission
Milky Way : Nebula : Appearance : Reflection
Odległość:1500 lat świetlnych
Constellation:Orion
Kategoria:Nebulae

Formaty zdjęć

Pełen rozmiar
17,3 MB
Wielki JPEG
708,5 KB

Powiększenie


Tapety

1024x768
186,4 KB
1280x1024
312,7 KB
1600x1200
474,8 KB
1920x1200
492,1 KB
2048x1536
672,6 KB

Współrzędne

Pozycja (RA):5 41 41.94
Pozycja (Dec):-2° 15' 52.63"
Pole widzenia:7.16 x 7.42 arcminutes
Orientacja:North is 0.0° lewo of vertical

Kolory i filtry

PasmoDługość faliTeleskop
Optyczny
b
440 nmVery Large Telescope
FORS2
Optyczny
v
557 nmVery Large Telescope
FORS2
Optyczny
R
655 nmVery Large Telescope
FORS2

 

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