Messier 42 (M42) is seen here at near-infrared wavelengths (Image Credit: Yuri Beletsky & Igor Chilingarian)

The Orion Molecular Cloud Complex—where the Great Nebula of Orion resides—is one of the largest and most famous places in our galaxy, so much so that some of Orion's lesser-known neighbors are completely overlooked, when they are just as stunning. One example is Messier 43 (otherwise known as M43, NGC 1982 or De Mairan's Nebula), which is separated from Orion by a huge cloud of dust.

This may not be the first comprehensive image taken of M43, but it's inarguably the best I've come across. Captured by Igor Chilingarian and Yuri Beletsky using the 6.5 Meter Magellan Telescope's MMIRS (short for MMT and Magellan Infrared Spectrograph) tool, it shows the region at near-infrared wavelengths.

Different colors represent distinct sections of the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait has a much more detailed write-up, which you can read here.

See more of Beletsky's work here (You can follow him on facebook here)


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