Home > Ephemeris Program, Nebula > 01/16/2017 – Ephemeris – The bright cloud in Orion, the Great Orion Nebula

01/16/2017 – Ephemeris – The bright cloud in Orion, the Great Orion Nebula

January 16, 2017

Ephemeris for Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16th.  The Sun will rise at 8:15.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 14 minutes, setting at 5:30.  The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:30 this evening.

The constellation Orion the hunter, which is in the south-southeast at 9 p.m., is the brightest of constellations with 2 first magnitude stars and 5 second magnitude stars in its torso.  Orion’s most famous feature is the Great Orion Nebula which lies in and around the stars of his sword.  It is bright, and lies about 1,344 light years away. By the way, the word nebula is Latin and means cloud or haze.  The plural of nebula is nebulae.  It can be seen with binoculars as a haze around what to the naked eye looks like the center of the three stars of Orion’s sword.  It is the lit end of a large dark cloud where stars are being formed.  It is illuminated by a clutch of four young stars in a tiny group called the Trapezium.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Orion via Stellarium

Orion with two nebulae.  The Great Orion Nebula is M42.  M78 is another small nebula.  Created using Stellarium.

The Great Orion Nebula (M42) long exposure photograph

The Great Orion Nebula (M42) long exposure photograph by Scott Anttila. Includes all the sword stars.

Inner part of the Great Orion Nebula. Image by Scott Anttila

Inner part of the Great Orion Nebula with the four stars of the Trapezium. Image by Scott Anttila.

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