The Trapezium

Star Birth in the Orion Nebula

Image exposure:
29.5 Minutes
Image Size:
7.57′ x 5.68′ (60′ = 1°)
Image date:

Originally thought to be a single star, Theta 1 Orionis was discovered to consist of multiple stars in 1617, soon after the invention of the astronomical telescope.

The four main components are massive, hot, class O or B stars, located within a small region 22″ across, equal to about 10,000 astronomical units (or about two light months). All are destined to live fast and die young, beginning in just a few million years.

The bigger the stars, the shorter the life span.

All the stars in and around the four stars of the Trapezium are part of the same group of young stars, born inside the nebula and now visible in a void swept clear of gas by the powerful ultra-violet emissions from the new stars.

The Trapezium stars lie in the very heart of the gigantic Orion Nebula – the very bright bit which is so easy to over-expose when taking images of the entire M42 nebula (see image below):

2017-11-22 M42 Orion Nebula 6x60s 840mm f7 ISO 1600
The Trapezium is in the white overexposed region.

Thanks for reading! 😎

◽ Images © Roger Powell
◽ Skywatcher Esprit 120 with 2x Powermate.
◽ Focal length: 2 x 840 = 1680 mm.
◽ Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.
◽ Astronomik CLS-CCD dual band filter.

Location of Orion Constellation

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  1. Funny thing, I walked out earlier to get the mail, and Orion was well up in the sky, and it was clear enough that I could see the smudge of the nebula and even make out the brightest parts (but no details) by the naked eye.

    I considered trying to snap a photo, but windy and cold had me change my mind.

    I have a special affinity for Orion . . . probably because it’s one of the easiest constellations to identify . . . and I like the name.

    . . . or maybe I can thank Jethro Tull . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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