The Most Wonderful Hubble Image EVER!

Sunday, January 15 2006 @ 10:15 am EST

Contributed by: bobmoody

Released on January 11, 2006, this Hubble Space Telescope image is the most impressive image ever taken of the "Great Nebula in Orion". The image covers a larger area of sky than any other HST image ever made, and the image has been painstakingly processed by "stitching" a large number of single images together to create this huge mosaic image. This nebula will be the highlight of our public observing nights on January 21st and 28th at Coleman Observatory. Come see this one for yourself!

Click image for larger view.
Isn't this a magnificent object? By way of AOAS's association with the NASA/JPL sponsored program known as Night Sky Network, we are among the first in the nation to offer up these images, links, and related details about this special Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project effort. This nebula is located in the constellation of Orion where it demarkates the middle star in the sword (see below) which hangs from the belt of the Mighty Hunter. It can be seen with binoculars, small telescopes, even the naked eye, but only the venerable Hubble Space Telescope could have given us this exceptionally detailed image.

Believe it or not, you can see a considerable amount of the detail captured in this image with your own eyes through our largest telescope here at Coleman Observatory.
The constellation Orion by one of the world's most reknowned and respected wide-field astrophoto- graphers, Akira Fujii of Japan.Click Here for original image and more Fujii/DMI images. Used by permission.
What our eyes have trouble seeing are the beautiful colors associated with this image. Our eyes don't work well on the colors of very dim objects. But CCD images are very capable of gathering all the various subtle colors seen here, and with special processing software, the colors can be made to stand out even more.

The colors themselves also reveal a great deal of scientific information about what chemical elements are present in the Orion Nebula. There's hydrogen associated with the reddish hues, and oxygen associated with green and some blue hues, as well as sulfur, calcium, silicates and other elements are detected through the combinations of the colors seen here. The darker brown and black areas are simply dust which in some places is dense enough to completely block the ionized light from the brighter parts of the nebula.

The main site where you'll find much more information and additional images about this exciting mosaic may be found at the Hubble site. There is also a site highlighting this image specifically for kids by clicking on Amazing-Space.

For a link to our downloadable PowerPoint associated with this image, and for the rest of the story, click READ MORE.

Our webmaster, David C. Grosvold, has added a PowerPoint presentation to go with this image by clicking here! This PowerPoint is also courtesy of our association with the Night Sky Network.

NOTICE: This file is nearly 2Mb and will be slow to open, especially on dial-up connections.

You are cordially invited to attend any of our upcoming public viewing nights where you'll be able to see up to 80% or more of the wonderful swirls and eddy-like features of Orion's Nebula for yourself throughout the rest of winter and most of the springtime. You likely won't even miss the colorization that our eyes have trouble detecting. But you must hurry! Orion sinks below the western horizon by the end of April, but check our site often to see when our next public nights are scheduled between now and the first week of April to get the BEST views. After April 1st Orion lies so close to the horizon that what you'll see becomes less-and-less obvious. EVERY observing event we hold is FREE and open to the public.

I look forward to seeing you at one or more of these upcoming events throughout 2006 at our Coleman Observatory facility located 8 miles NW of Van Buren, AR. Click on "Coleman Observatory" or "map" or "coordinates" to find a printable map to our site, and make SURE you follow the written directions.

Bob Moody,


Coleman Observatory

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