Skip Nav
Digital Life
These Kinetic Sand Videos Will Quickly Put Your Mind at Ease
Geek Culture
70 Badass Costumes For Women Based on Fandoms
Geek Culture
68 DIY Game of Thrones Costumes Perfect For Anyone Who Loves the Old Gods and the New

Orion Nebula Photo

The Most Dazzling Photo of the Orion Nebula Ever Taken

Just south of Orion's Belt lies one of the sky's brightest nebulae, the Orion Nebula, a star formation so massive that it's an estimated 24 light years across. The spectacular glory of the celestial mass was recently captured by a new camera that can take the sharpest photos of space this side of the galaxy.

Researchers at the University of Arizona, Italy's Arcetri Observatory, and the Carnegie Observatory have spent the past 20 years developing the technology behind the camera, whose images are at least twice as sharp as the Hubble Space Telescope's. The photo of the Orion Nebula below was taken in Arizona atop Mount Lemmon, and the new camera is now making its way to the high-altitude Magellan Telescope in Chile.

The key is an optics system called MagAO, which uses a 21-foot-diameter mirror (the Hubble Telescope's mirror is a mere eight feet) to capture long-exposure images at a resolution that could "see a baseball diamond on the moon," according to University of Arizona professor Laird Close.

Atop that mirror is a very thin, curved mirror measuring 2.8-feet across that can alter its shape to counteract the natural blurring effects of the atmosphere. The floating curved glass is suspended by a magnetic field 30 feet above the telescope's primary mirror.

So far the camera has uncovered details about the distribution of dust and gas, which is very important because "dust and gas is what nature uses to build planets," said Close.

Around The Web
Join The Conversation
Photos of a Newborn Doing the Breast Crawl
Three Generations of Women Breastfeeding Photo
NASA New Mars Images
Photographs of Emergency C-Section Birth
What Being a Mom Really Looks Like
Best Birth Photos Ever Taken
Baby Cake-Smash Photo Ideas

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Technology & Gadgets
X