This Colossal Gas Filament in the Orion Nebula Is Some Kinda Cosmic Dragon

Image: R. Friesen, Dunlap Institute; J. Pineda, MPIP; GBO/AUI/NSF
Captured by the Green Bank Telescope in Virginia, the filament sheds light on the mysteries of star birth.

By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD

The Orion Nebula, the middle jewel in the „sword“ of the constellation Orion, is one of the most avidly photographed objects in the night sky. Located roughly 1,300 light years from Earth and stretching 24 light years across, this active stellar nursery has captivated skywatchers from around the world with its radiant clusters of infant stars surrounded by silky sheets of collapsing gas and dust.

The nebula is most popularly imaged in wide-shots, but pictures that hone in on individual structures within the cluster can be just as eye-catching. Take the cover picture, which captures a colossal filament made of stellar ingredients like ammonia gas that stretches out for 50 light years like some kind of cosmic serpent. (Anyone playing Breath of the Wild might be reminded of Dinraal, the Eldin dragon.)

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