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The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. It's located just below the "belt" in the constellation. Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the above deep image composite in assigned colors taken by the Hubble Space Telescope wisps and sheets of dust and gas are particularly evident. Click here for the nebula in colors as it would be seen by the eye.
Also known as M42, the Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.