…continuedA Pair of Nice Nebulae
More on Orion
When you look at the Orion Nebula you are looking across 1,500 light-years of space. That may seem vast, but on the cosmic scale it's in our galactic neighborhood. The nebula sits in an outlying spur of the same Milky Way spiral arm that contains our Sun.
The Orion Nebula is also known as M42 the 42nd entry in Charles Messier's catalog of objects. While you're in the area, check out M43, part of the Orion Nebula just to the north of the Trapezium. Also, if you're scanning this area with binoculars or a telescope, you've probably already seen M45 the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters. This is the sky's brightest star cluster. It's an easy naked-eye object about 35 degrees above and to the right of Orion. (See "A Sampling of Star Clusters".)