[M42, 2MASS IR image]

The Trapezium Cluster region in the heart of the Orion Nebula, M42, as seen in the infrared light. This image was obtained from data taken with the 2MASS IR telescopes in Arizona and Chile.

This is a high contrast view of the Trapezium Region. The Trapezium is the young, massive stars near the center of the image, and in conjunction with the thousands of other stars seen in this image, constitute the Orion Nebula Cluster. With a central stellar density of 20,000 stars per cubic parsec (stars / pc^3), the Orion Nebula Cluster is the richest, densest concentration of young stars in the solar neighborhood. The small group of red stars just northwest of the Trapezium is the famous BN-KL (Becklin-Neugebauer -- Kleinman-Low) complex. These objects appear red because they remain embedded in the OMC-1 (Orion Molecular Cloud 1) molecular cloud, located just behind the Trapezium. Also seen in this image is the Orion Bar photodissociation region, which is signified by the abrupt halt in the nebular emission toward the southwest portion of the image.

This image covers a field of 12.8' x 8.5'.

  • 2MASS image the whole Orion Nebula M42/M43 region
  • More 2MASS images

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: 17 Aug 2001, 23:55 MET