Picture of the Day: A Beautiful New View of the Orion Nebula's Young Stars

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The Orion nebula, 1,500 light years from Earth and barely visible without binoculars*, sits in the sky just below the three-star belt of the Orion the Hunter constellation, which appears in the night sky in northern latitudes during the fall and winter. This new image combines infrared observations form NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (appearing in blue) and the European Space Agency's Herschel telescope (shown in green and red). Orion's young stars, some of which may become mature stars in hundreds of thousands of years, appear as small red glowing orbs.

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:

Image: NASA.

Update: This post originally said the Orion nebula was not visible to the naked eye. NASA says it is not "quite" visible -- some people are able to faintly see it -- and the post has been updated to reflect that.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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