Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
Stars
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Quasars
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Miscellaneous
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Multiwavelength
Sky Map
Constellations
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Desktops
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
AVM/Metadata
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chandra Mobile
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
More Information
Normal Stars & Star Clusters
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Normal Stars & Star Clusters
Questions and Answers
Normal Stars & Star Clusters
Chandra Images
Normal Stars & Star Clusters
Related Podcasts
Tour of WASP-18
Tour of WASP-18 (2014-09-18)
Download Image

More Information

More Images
Illustration of Large Flares
(Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

Animation & Video

More Releases
Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula
(03 Oct 07)
Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula
(14 Jan 00)

Related Images
M17
M17
(14 Aug 03)
Rosette Nebula
Rosette Nebula
(06 Sep 01)
Orion Trapezium
Orion Trapezium
(09 Nov 00)
Orion Nebula:
Planetary Protection: X-ray Super-Flares Aid Formation of "Solar Systems"


Orion Nebula
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn State/E.Feigelson & K.Getman et al.

This Chandra image shows the Orion Nebula Cluster, a rich cluster of young stars observed almost continuously for 13 days. The long observation enabled scientists to study the X-ray behavior of young Sun-like stars with ages between 1 and 10 million years. They discovered that these young stars produce violent X-ray outbursts, or flares, that are much more frequent and energetic than anything seen today from our 4.6 billion-year-old Sun.

The range of flare energies is large, with some of the stars producing flares that are a hundred times larger than others. The different flaring properties of the young Sun-like stars could have important implications for the formation of planets around these stars.

According to some theoretical models, large flares could produce strong turbulence in a planet-forming disk around a young star. Such turbulence might affect the position of rocky, Earth-like planets as they form and prevent them from rapidly migrating towards the young star. Therefore, the survival chances of the Earth may have been enhanced by large flares from the young Sun.

The different colors for the stars in the image are primarily due to the differences in the amount of gas and dust along the line of sight, which filters out the lower energy X-rays more effectively.

Fast Facts for Orion Nebula:
Credit  NASA/CXC/Penn State/E.Feigelson & K.Getman et al.
Scale  Image is 5.5 arcmin per side.
Category  Normal Stars & Star Clusters
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 05h 35m 14.29s | Dec -05 23' 37.91"
Constellation  Orion
Observation Dates  2003: Jan 8 - Jan 21
Observation Time  233 hours
Obs. IDs  3744, 4373, 4374, 4395, 4396, 3498
Color Code  Energy: Red: 0.3-1.0 keV, Green 1.0-3.0 keV, Blue 3.0-8.0 keV
Instrument  ACIS
Also Known As M42
References Wolk et al. (2005), Favata et al. (2005), Tsujimoto et al. (2005), Kastner et al. (2005), ApJ Supplement (scheduled for Oct 2005)
Distance Estimate  About 1,500 light years
Release Date  May 10, 2005