Skip to main content

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

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 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

Follow on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+. Original article on

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: