The Orion Nebula


SEE THE ORION NEBULA: Warmer evenings are now at hand in early spring, and the amazing constellation Orion remains in the evening sky for at least another month. A moonless evening is a good time to look for M42, the Orion Nebula.

M42 is an “emission nebula,” a patch of brightly glowing gas in deep space. M42 is easy to find with binoculars or a small telescope, lying along the “sword” of Orion, a long string of stars extending under the left side of the famous “belt.”

If you don’t have a telescope, you can visit a local planetarium or astronomy club to get a view. Just don’t expect to see a colorful, swirling “Hubble photo”! Such nebulae are very distant and inherently not very bright. So expect to see a faint, grey fuzzy patch.

Even so, M42 is one of the brightest and most visually-interesting of all the so-called “deep sky” objects. And it will only be in the sky for another month! So catch it while you can!


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