The first drawing of the Orion Nebula M42

[M42 by Hodierna]

The first known drawing of the Orion Nebula, created by Giovanni Batista Hodierna before 1654 from Palma di Montechiaro, Sicily (Hodierna 1654).

The three stars shown within the nebula are probably Theta1, Theta2 A, and Theta2 B Orionis. They are very probably not the three brightest Trapezium stars, as Serio (1985) have proposed, first because the stars depicted better match the location of those listed, and second because Hodierna's instruments could have hardly resolved the Trapezium, which he probably saw as one star, Theta1.


Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: April 12, 2006