This image shows the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.
Orion in Gas, Dust, and Stars: The constellation of Orion holds much more than three stars in a row. A deep exposure shows everything from dark nebula to star clusters, all embedded in an extended patch of gaseous wisps in the greater Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The featured image covers an area with objects that are roughly 1,500 light years away and spans about 75 light years. via NASA
M78 is a section of the cloud just above Orion’s Belt that’s evidence of the latter. But even then, much of the dust is dark to our eyes. But if you look in the far, far infrared, where warm material glows, a different — and spectacular — view appears
Celestial Finger Painting This colour-composite image was obtained by FORS1 on ANTU. It displays a sky area near the Chamaeleon I complex of bright nebulae and hot stars in the constellation of the same name,
The Witch Head Nebula (IC 2118) - This suggestively shaped reflection nebula is associated with the bright star Rigel (located just outside the top right corner of the above image) in the constellation Orion. (credit: Gary Stevens)