Image: Best of Eureka - A kaleidoscope of dust and gas in Orion

Best of Eureka - A kaleidoscope of dust and gas in Orion

This 12.5hr exposure, taken over 3 separate nights, frames a region of the sky in the constellation of Orion and is known to southern observers as the handle of 'The Saucepan'. More formally it is known as the 'Sword of Orion' and includes the famous Orion Nebula, a large nearby gaseous star forming region in our galaxy. The ionisation of Hydrogen atoms, by ultra violet radiation, emitted by stars deep inside the nebula, produces the predominantly red hues. Clouds of fine dust particles appear blue-grey due to the scattering of short visible light wavelengths, in a process known as Rayleigh scattering. Cold foreground dust and molecular hydrogen create a fine intricate web of obscuring dark clouds silhouetted against the glowing gasses. The combined atomic and optical processes coordinate to produce this stellar kaleidoscope of wispy details and wonderful colours.

Michael Sidonio
© Michael Sidonio

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