Orion Molecular Cloud Complex
|Molecular cloud complex|
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 epoch|
|Right ascension||05h 35.3m|
|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
The following is a list of notable nebulae within the larger nebula complex:
- The Orion Nebula, also known as M42
- M43, which is part of the Orion Nebula
- IC 434, which contains the Horsehead Nebula
- The Horsehead Nebula
- Barnard's Loop
- M78, a reflection nebula
- Orion Molecular Cloud
- Flame Nebula (NGC 2024)
Also the Orion OB1 Association is part of this complex.
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