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Bright nebula, faintly visible to the unaided eye in the sword of the hunter's figure in the constellation Orion. About 1,500 light-years from Earth, it contains hundreds of very hot young stars clustered about a group of four massive stars known as the Trapezium. Radiation primarily from these four stars excites the nebula to glow. Discovered in the early 17th century, it was the first nebula to be photographed (1880).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Orion Nebula, visit Britannica.com.
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