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Orion Nebula

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Glowing with a greenish hue below Orion's Belt, the Great nebula in Orion (M42 in the Messier object catalogue, or NGC 1976), is possibly the brightest diffuse nebula visible to the naked eye in the night sky. It is located at a distance of about 1,600 light years from the planet Earth, is 33 light years across, and can be seen clearly through even a simple pair of binoculars, particularly from dark sky locations.

The Orion Nebula was first discovered in 1610 by a French lawyer, Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc[?] (1580-1637), and has inspired astronomers ever since.

More information: Messier 42 (http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m042), SEDS Messier pages

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