Fledgling stars flicker in the heart of Orion
This new view of the Orion Nebula shows embryonic stars within extensive gas and dust clouds. Combining far-infrared observations from the Herschel Space Observatory and mid-infrared observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the image shows newly forming stars surrounded by remnant gas and dust in the form of discs and larger envelopes.
Data from the PACS instrument on Herschel at wavelengths of 70 and 160 microns (a micron is a millionth of a metre) are shown as green and red, respectively, and reveal emission from the disks and envelopes of the very youngest protostars. Two Spitzer instruments, IRAC and MIPS, were used to obtain images of the same region at 8 and 24 microns, which are combined here as blue. These wavelengths show emission from the hotter regions of discs around somewhat older stars.
The region shown covers roughly 25×25 arcminutes on the sky or 3×3 parsecs at the distance to Orion.