Hubble's NICMOS views molecular cloud OMC-1
in the Orion Nebula M42

[OMC1 in M42, NICMOS] [PNG]

Hi-res version of this image

Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), an instrument newly installed during the second servicing mission done by the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-82, has provided a dramatic new look at the beautiful Orion Nebula. At left, the previously obtained WFPC2 mosaic of the Orion Nebula is shown, and the location of the NICMOS image right is indicated. The NICMOS image is centered on the heart of a giant molecular cloud, OMC-1 (for Orion Molecular Cloud 1), which is not apparent in the visible light but conspicuous in the infrared glimpsed by the new instrument.

The NICMOS image shows numerous newly formed stars, and other features connected with the chaotic active process of star formation (the structures in the gas). Gas is in rapid motion as stars of a large mass range are formed in this cloud. Images like this reveal a lot of detail and will hopfully provide a good understanding of the process of star formation.

From the STScI-PRC97-13.

Other Hubble pictures of M42: Pre-repair, Proplyd discovery (June 1994), newer (November 1995), Trapezium cluster (January 1997), Trapezium in IR (August 2000), Proplyds under hot radiation (April 2001).

Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: 24 May 1998