The Trapezium

[M42 detail, AAT 29] [PNG]

The Trapezium Cluster in the Orion Nebula M42, as photographed by David Malin with the Anglo-Australian Telescope.

The brightest region of the Orion nebula around the Trapezium cluster of young, recently formed stars is subject of another nomenclature coming from historical visual observers, namely Herschel, Struve, and Rosse, and is here quoted from Stoyan and Alzner (1995), which also contain excellent observing hints and reports. The Fish's Mouth there has the designation "Sinus Magnus", while the wing ends are named "Proboscis Maior" (SE, lower in our image) and "Proboscis Minor" (NW). The bright region of the nebula around the Trapezium is called "Regio Huygheniana", which is sharply limited by the "Frons" toward the lower-surface-brightness "Regio Subnebulosa" in the southeast (lower left) which contains as its brightest star Theta2 Orionis (nearest to the "Frons"); Theta1 is the brightest Trapezium star. The bright "light bridge" left of the Trapezium through Sinus Magnus is called "Pons Schröteri", which ends up in the northern lower surface brightness "Regio Picardiana". The part of the nebula right of Regio Huyghiana was named "Regio Derhamiana", while the dark structures in the lower right are the "Sinus Gentili", which go over into the "Regio Fouchiana" at the very lower right.

  • More info on this image by David Malin
  • Old style version of this and other AAT images of M42

    AAT images of the Trapezium cluster

    [Trapezium cluster in M42, AAT]

    Comparative view in the visible and the IR part of the spectrum. The infrared image shows many more young cool stars in formation.

    Above images are copyrighted and may be used for private purpose only. For any other kind of use, including internet mirroring and storing on CD-ROM, please contact the Photo Permissions Department (photo at of the Anglo Australian Observatory.

  • More images from the Anglo Australian Observatory

    [M42, FLWO] [PNG]

    F.L. Whipple Observatory image of the Trapezium region in M42. The colors in this image were carefully tuned to resemble the appearance in the human eye, if it were sensitive enough. This image was created from CCD photos taken through red, green, and blue filters with the FLWO 48-inch telescope on Mt. Hopkins, Arizona by Nelson Caldwell.

  • More images from the FLWO

    Also of interest:

  • The Trapezium Region of M42 investigated from Lowell Observatory
  • Infrared Observations of the Trapezium Cluster region in M42
  • Hubble Space Telescope observations of the Trapezium region

  • Jean-Claude Mermilliod's WEBDA cluster page for the Trapezium cluster in the Orion Nebula, M42

    [M42 part, HST]

    This HST image shows a part of the "Frons", the bright star on the left is Theta2 Orionis. In the bright "Regio Huygheniana" (or Huygens Region) several protoplanetary disks can be found in an apparently very turbulent gaseous environment.


  • More images of M42 and M43
  • Amateur images of M42

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: March 12, 2006