The secret life of the Orion Nebula

Space bears witness to a constant stream of star births. Whole star clusters are often formed at the same time — and within a comparatively short period. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg have proposed a new mechanism that relies on the interplay between magnetic fields and gravitation to explain this quick formation, investigating a filament of gas and dust which also includes the well-known Orion Nebula.

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“Orion DT” by David Tolliday

David Tolliday’s stunning image of the Orion and Running Man Nebulae was captured on his first night’s attempt at astrophotography — winning image of The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer category in the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2015.

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“Orion Nebula, M42” by Patrick Gilliland

Nomination number 11 from the prestigious Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, an annual celebration of the most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos by astrophotographers worldwide. The 2015 competition received 2700 spectacular entries from over 60 countries and the winners will be announced 17 September.