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Astronomers Take Unusual
Ultraviolet Image of Orion

This is a an ultraviolet image of the constellation Orion taken with the Midcourse Space Experiment satellite, built by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The image may provide insights into a bright region, called M42, where new stars are forming.

The Orion image is particularly significant because it shows a wide-angle ultraviolet view of dust surrounding M42, located about 1,500 light years from Earth. The hotter an object is the more ultraviolet light it emits. Because hot stars are typically younger, studying the ultraviolet sky teaches scientists more about the properties in regions where stars are born. But the Earth's atmosphere filters out ultraviolet light, so space-borne instruments must be used to make observations in the ultraviolet spectrum.

Return to Astronomers Take Unusual Ultraviolet Image of Orion

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