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Posted by Specola

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Do you recognize this constellation? Although it is one of the most recognizable star groupings on the sky, this is a more full Orion than you can see -- an Orion only revealed with long exposure digital camera imaging and post- processing. Here the cool red giant Betelgeuse takes on a strong orange tint as the brightest star on the upper left. Orion's hot blue stars are numerous, with supergiant Rigel balancing Betelgeuse on the lower right, and Bellatrix at the upper right. Lined up in Orion's belt are three stars all about 1,500 light-years away, born from the constellation's well-studied interstellar clouds. Just below Orion's belt is a bright but fuzzy patch that might also look familiar -- the stellar nursery known as Orion's Nebula. Finally, just barely visible to the unaided eye but quite striking here is Barnard's Loop -- a huge gaseous emission nebula surrounding Orion's Belt and Nebula discovered over 100 years ago by the pioneering Orion photographer E. E. Barnard.

Photo by Michele Guzzini

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