Image of the Day: Scintillating new Orion Nebula snapshot

Here's a breathtaking new image of the 24-light-year-wide Orion Nebula captured by acclaimed Australian astrophotographer Terry Hancock. Hancock used a 5-inch telescope to gather images over a five-year period and compiled this astonishing heavenly portrait.  At just over 1,350 light-years from Earth, the Great Nebula in Orion is a breeding ground for young stars, at which stargazers over the decades have stared in awe at the region's brilliant necklaces of new stars, interstellar gas and whirling protoplanetary disks in the constellation Orion.

In addition to the main red/blue nebula's mass of glowing gas and baby stars in the center of the photo,  a smaller blue cloud clumped on the left is part of a secondary region of nebulae known as reflection nebulae for the illuminating effect caused by reflecting starlight.  

Center yourself and enter into this twinkling outer-space abyss.


(Via Gizmodo)

More from around the web