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March 20, 1996
NGC 1977: Blue Reflection Nebula in Orion
Credit: Anglo-Australian Telescope photograph by David Malin
Copyright: Anglo-Australian Telescope Board
Explanation: The Orion Nebula is visible to the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch near the famous belt of three stars in the constellation Orion. The above picture captures a part of the Orion Nebula that primarily reflects light from bright Orion stars. This reflection nebula appears blue because the blue light from the neighboring stars scatters more efficiently from nebula gas than does red light. The dark lanes are composed of mostly interstellar dust - fine needle-shaped carbon grains.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC