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Astro Bob

Behold The Orion Nebula, Winter’s Most Beautiful Flower

28 Dec 2018, 18:59 UTC
Behold The Orion Nebula, Winter’s Most Beautiful Flower
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Now is the perfect time to look for the Orion Nebula in the constellation Orion the Hunter. Orion’s comes up in evening twilight is well placed from 6:30 p.m. to past midnight. Stellarium
No moon. Clear skies. A perfect time to look at the Orion Nebula. It’s easy to find. Face southeast around 7 o’clock and look for three bright stars in a close-set row not quite vertical to the horizon. That’s Orion’s belt. Look two fingers to the lower right of the lowest belt star for a smaller, slanted group of three fainter stars. This is Orion’s sword. If you now use your peripheral vision on the sword stars — looking around them instead of directly at them — you should be able to coax a fuzzy patch into view.
The Orion Nebula or M42 is just below Orion’s Belt (top) in the middle of his “sword”. In a time exposure it looks pink, but through binoculars it appears as gray, misty patch dotted with several stars. Bob King
That whiff of insubstantial haze is the Orion Nebula, one of the closest and largest stellar nurseries in the galaxy. The massive cloud of gas and dust spans 24 light ...

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