Orion Molecular Cloud Complex

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Orion Molecular Cloud Complex
molecular cloud
Molecular cloud complex
Orion Head to Toe.jpg
Part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, with the Great Nebula in Orion near the center, along with the Belt of Orion, and Barnard's Loop curling around the image
Observation data: J2000.0[1] epoch
Right ascension 05h 35.3m[1]
Declination −05° 23′[1]
Constellation Orion
Designations Orion Complex, Orion Cloud Complex, Orion Molecular Cloud Complex
See also: Lists of nebulae

The Orion Molecular Cloud Complex (also often referred to as simply the Orion Complex) refers to a large group of bright nebulae, dark clouds, and young stars located in the constellation of Orion. The cloud itself is between 1,500 and 1,600 light-years away and is hundreds of light-years across. Several parts of the nebula can be observed through binoculars and small telescopes, with some parts (such as the Orion Nebula) being visible to the naked eye.

The nebula is important because of the sheer size as it spreads several degrees from Orion's Belt to his sword. It is also one of the most active regions of stellar formation that can be seen in the night sky, and is home to both protoplanetary discs and very young stars. The nebula is also very bright in the infrared wavelengths due to the heat-intensive processes involved in the stellar formation, although the complex contains dark nebulae, emission nebulae, reflection nebulae, and HII regions.

Nebulae within the complex[edit]

A picture of Barnard's Loop, which is a primary component of the nebula complex. Also seen in the image are the locations of other nebulae in the complex such as M42.

The following is a list of notable nebulae within the larger nebula complex:

Also the Orion OB1 Association is part of this complex.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "NAME ORI COMPLEX -- Cloud". SIMBAD. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  2. ^ "NAME ORI MOL CLOUD -- Molecular Cloud". SIMBAD. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 

External links[edit]