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OrionNASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken the sharpest views yet of the Orion Nebula, the nearest star formation region to the Earth.
Orion the Hunter is one of the most easily recognized constellations. It includes stars many people recognize: red giant Betelgeuse (upper left) and blue giant Rigel (lower right). The three stars in the middle make up the belt. Just below is the sword, the Orion Nebula, which can be seen by the naked eye in very clear dark skies.
This image, one of the sharpest ever taken by the Hubble telescope, contains about 3,000 stars--many have never been seen in visible light.
The bright lights of the Trapezium Stars illuminate this area of the Orion Nebula. Ultraviolet light from these stars is creating a cavity in the nebula and disrupting the growth of hundreds of stars. A whitish-looking disk, between and just above the two bright stars on the left, is a bubble of gas and dust.