Orion Nebula Glows in Psychedelic Colors in Stunning Amateur Photo

M42 by Robert Fields
Robert Fields sent Space.com this image of Messier 42, or the Orion Nebula on March 18, 2014. The image is a compilation of narrowband data in SII, HA and OIII taken from Irvington Observatory of Howell Twp, Miss. (Image credit: Robert Fields)

The Orion nebula glows in vivid clouds of blue and yellow in this beautiful image recently sent to Space.com.

Astrophotographer Robert Fields captured this photo of Messier 42, or the Orion nebula, from the Irvington Observatory of Howell Twp, Miss. on March 18. He used a FSQ 106 telescope and SBIG STL 11k Astrodon Narrowband at 3nm wavelength "to really give the detail in the nebulosity," Fields wrote Space.com in an email. [See more amazing Orion nebula photos by stargazers]

Fields' image is a compilation of narrowband data in SII, HA and OIII. It is the result of more than 14 hours of data and synthesized using Photoshop.

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The Orion nebula is located roughly 1,500 light-years from Earth and stretches 40 light-years across. It can be seen with the unaided eye near the belt of the three stars in the constellation Orion. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). The nebula's colors seen in the region of star formation are created by oxygen and hydrogen gas emission.To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.