The Great Orion Nebula is an immense cloud of gas that lies within the constellation of Orion and in astronomical nomenclature is known as M42. On clearer nights it is visible without the need for telescopes. In antiquity, it was believed to be a star formation, but in 1610 astronomer Nicholas Peiresc discovered that it was a nebula.
As their name implies, nebulae are clouds of gas and dust contracted by gravity. They can be bright or dark and are usually remnants of stellar explosions.
Interesting data on the Orion Nebula
It is about 30 light-years across and is 1300 light-years away from Earth. Its gigantic cloud is basically made of hydrogen.
In this region of star formation – the Orion region – astronomers observe the birth of some stars. Among them, four new stars stand out, which when joined together create an image in a trapezoidal shape (if the trapezoid stars did not exist, only a large dark cloud would be observed).
Astronomers have discovered a complex structure in its interior: massive stars with more energy than the Sun, brown dwarfs, small nebulae, and the so-called Trapezium Summit (the four stars that frame the Orion Nebula). Astronomers and astrophysicists believe that M42 is an ideal “lab” for unraveling the riddles of the universe . Orion Nebula
A scorpion chases Orion in the sky
The name of the constellations has as its main historical origin the world of Greek mythology. Thus, the 88 constellations known to date are related to some mythological legend.
According to the accounts of Homer and Hesiod, Orion was a giant who was dedicated to hunting and who starred in several adventures of love. With his first wife he was very happy, but ended up murdered by the goddess Hera, who considered her a threat because of her great beauty . Then Orion fell in love with another woman, but his father imposed a challenge on him to marry his daughter: he would have to eliminate the dangerous animals from his kingdom. Orion Nebula
Orion kept his promise, but his beloved’s father was secretly in love with his daughter and took revenge on the hunter by taking his eyes off. After regaining his sight, following the instructions of an oracle, he fell in love with Artemis, the goddess of hunting and virginity.
The hunter tried to force the goddess, but she was enraged and launched a scorpion that chased him until he took a deadly sting. This unfortunate ending can be seen in the heavens: in the east is the constellation of Scorpio and in the west the constellation of Orion.