Orion Nebula Glows in Amateur Astronomer's Amazing Photo

Hansenn Orion Nebula
Amateur astronomer Keith Hanssen took this image of the Orion Nebula in November from Montana. (Image credit: Keith Hanssen)

This stunning image of the Orion Nebula shows the bright, colorful region of the celestial object. Amateur astronomer Keith Hanssen took the image in November from Montana.

"I had purchased a telescope for the first time in my life earlier in 2013 after retiring and moving to Montana. In the summer of 2014 I started taking a few deep sky objects but I was always waiting for the Great Orion Nebula to return to the evening sky," Hanssen wrote in an email to Space.com.

The Orion nebula, also known as Messier 42 or NGC 1976,  is located approximately 1,500 light-years from Earth. The vivid colors seen in the iconic nebula's region of star formation are created by oxygen and hydrogen gas emission.It spans 40 light-years across and can be viewed 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). [See more spectacular photos of the Orion Nebula]

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

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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.