Gas Plume From a Newborn Star

A NASA Hubble Space Telescope picture of a hypersonic shock wave (lower right) of material moving at 148,000 miles per hour in the Orion Nebula, a star-forming region 1,500 light-years away.

Studies of similar objects infer that such highly supersonic shock waves are formed by a beam of material coming out of newly formed stars.

The plume is only 1,500 years old. The image is 112 light-year across.

This color photograph is a composite of separate images taken at the wavelengths of the two abundant elements in the nebula: Hydrogen and Oxygen. The images were taken with HST's Wide Field and Planetary Camera (in wide field mode), on August 13 and 14, 1991.


C.R. O'Dell (Rice University), and NASA

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:16 December 1992, 06:00
Size:2862 x 2111 px

About the Object

Name:M 42, Messier 42, NGC 1976, Orion Nebula
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Star Formation
Distance:1400 light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
232.3 KB


337.4 KB
604.8 KB
902.6 KB

Colours & filters

Optical Hubble Space Telescope

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