• Ville Miettinen

Stellar nursery

About 1600 light years from Earth lies Orion B molecular cloud complex. Reflection nebulae in it are illuminated by bright blue starlight from intensely hot young stars in the nebulosity. Brightest parts were discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain and his colleague Charles Messier. Messier described it as “two bright nuclei surrounded by nebulosity" and added it to the list of Messier objects with a designation M78. Infrared observations of Messier 78 have revealed that at least 192 stars have formed within the Orion B molecular cloud complex. It also contains about 45 T Tauri stars that are pre-main sequence stars still at the beginning of their life. Also this region is home to 17 Herbig-Haro objects, that are commonly found in star forming regions. They typically only last several thousand years before dispersing.