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ABSTRACT ART FOUND IN THE ORION NEBULA

Close inspection of the 2006 Hubble Space Telescope color mosaic of the Orion Nebula (M42) reveals numerous treasures that reside within the nearby, intense star- forming region. Southwest of the Trapezium stars located in the center of the nebula, a stunning Hubble Heritage portrait captures a variety of intricate objects. Deeply contrasting areas of light and dark blend with a palette of colors mix to form rich swirls and fluid motions that would make even the best artists stand back and admire their work.

Visible slightly above left center is the star LL Orionis (LL Ori), originally release by the Hubble Heritage Project in 2002. The delicate bow shock that surrounds LL Ori points towards the stream of gas flowing slowly away from the center of the Orion Nebula, near the Trapezium stars located off the image to the upper left. Close examination of the ends of the bow shock show secondary shocks that are formed as a two-sided jet of gas flowing away from this forming star at high velocity strikes the stream of low velocity gas from the center. To the right of LL Ori, a ghostly veil of material hangs thick and dark, obscuring portions of the nebula behind it.

The bright star toward the lower left of the image, known as LP Orionis (LP Ori), is surrounded by a prominent reflection nebula. Astronomers believe the star is moving within another veil of material that lies in front of M42. The appearance of the bright rim above LP Ori indicates that the teardrop shaped dark region around the illuminating star must be a cavity formed as the star moves through the veil material, rather than being a dusty veil obscuring light behind it.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Acknowledgment: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team