Molly Haley - Spring 2013
Orion Nebula (M42)


m42_wittich_960.jpg


SUMMARY

The Orion Nebula is one of the most recognizable and most studied nebulae in our sky. Because it is relatively close (around 1500 light years away) and easy to find (it is located in the “sword” in the Orion constellation), both amateur and professional astronomers have studied it extensively. It has provided us with much information about how stars form, especially ones like our own because it is a nebula that is theorized to be very similar to the one our sun formed from. This nebula is also noteworthy for its strange and puzzling aspects that have kept astronomers fascinated. Not only are the stars inside it moving very rapidly, but there aren’t enough high-mass ones to account for this. It is proposed that there is a massive black hole that could be behind all of this strangeness.






hs-2006-01-h-web.jpg
Brown Dwarfs are circled in this picture during the "Image Tour."

Hubble Site:
Image Tours: Orion Nebula

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/tours/tour-orion/

Author
Tracy Vogel

LAST UPDATED
August 02, 2012

DATE REVIEWED
May 12, 2013

REVIEWED BY:
Molly Haley

OVERVIEW
This page contains an “image tour” of the Orion Nebula which is extremely helpful in picking out objects in the nebula. When you click on a topic, the image will take you to the/a spot in the nebula where it exists and circle it providing easy-to-understand definitions and facts along with it.

ACCURACY:
All of the information is up to date and accurate. It comes from the Hubble Space Telescope’s website, which is run by the Space Telescope Science Institute. They are a credible source.

READABILITY and CLARITY:
This is a very easy site to use and learn from. Because the vocabulary and definitions are displayed with a specific image, they are much easier to understand, and keep people interested. This is a wonderful starting point for anyone who is interested in the Orion Nebula.






NASA:

WISE Feels the Heat from Orion’s Sword
Image taken by WISE
Image taken by WISE


http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/news/wise20130205.html

Author
Whitney Clavin

LAST UPDATED
April 06, 2013

DATE REVIEWED
May 12, 2013

REVIEWED BY:
Molly Haley


OVERVIEW
This site provides information about WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), which is part of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. WISE took a wide-sweeping picture of the Orion Nebula that picked up “infrared glow” from the new stars there. If you click on the link for the "Full image and Caption," then you are sent to a page where the Orion Nebula is explained further.

As a note, the picture is closer to what it looks like through a backyard telescope.

ACCURACY:
This is a page on NASA’s website, written by a member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is highly credible.

READABILITY and CLARITY:
This webpage is more for astronomy students that know a decent amount of vocabulary and technical jargon. It is clear and informative if this is the case, however. Recommended for college students. The article linked under the picture is easier to understand and a little more relevant to this topic.

EASE OF NAVIGATION:
There are several other pages on this one that can lead you to similar pages about this mission. There is also information regarding how to contact the Laboratory in charge of this project. If you click on the link directly below the picture you're treated with another page, this one more about the nebula itself than the mission.




University of Queensland, Australia:
International study suggests a massive black hole exists in the Sword of Orion

Above is the Tetriad, one of the main reasons the scientists believe a black hole exists here.
Above is the Tetriad, one of the main reasons the scientists believe a black hole exists here.

http://www.uq.edu.au/news/?article=25464


Author
Dr. Holger Baumgardt and Aarti Kapoor

LAST UPDATED
October 30, 2012

DATE REVIEWED
May 12, 2013

REVIEWED BY:
Molly Haley


OVERVIEW:
This website has information on a study that suggests that there could be a black hole in the Orion Nebula. They argue that this would explain many of the strange phenomena that occur in the Nebula, such as the high velocities of stars and the absence of many large stars while there are still small ones. The site aims to inform people of the latest theory behind the long-standing mystery of the Orion Nebula.

ACCURACY:
This page was found on a highly reputable university’s website, and was informed by a member of the international team that performed this study. It is highly credible and very accurate. Keep in mind though, that this is only one study done on this idea, and all of the findings are still new, which means it might not be a hugely accurate account of what is actually happening out there.


READABILITY and CLARITY:
This website is not intended for children, but it is still fairly easy to read. If one has an understanding of some astronomy terms and is used to reading journal articles, this article is right for them. Suggested reading level is college, but I would personally say high school kids can understand it fine. It is very clear in its information and is not horribly long as well, which makes it a pleasant read.

EASE OF NAVIGATION:
This is just an article on a page, but it does provide contact info and has links to people and schools involved. There are easy to follow links if you want to know more about the university or professors as well.



EarthSky:
Picture of Orion and its Nebula in the night sky
Picture of Orion and its Nebula in the night sky


A black hole in the Orion Nebula?

http://earthsky.org/space/a-black-hole-in-the-orion-nebula

Author:
Deborah Byrd

LAST UPDATED:
November 05, 2012

DATE REVIEWED:
May 12, 2013

REVIEWED BY:
Molly Haley


OVERVIEW:
This article is also about the possibility of a black hole inside the Orion Nebula. It discusses the Trapezium and how they are a factor in it, and describes the model used for the research team’s findings in clear terms. There is also information about how to find the Orion constellation and its nebula in the night sky.

ACCURACY:
Deborah Byrd, the author, has much experience in this field and is qualified enough to have taught it for 35 years. EarthSky is a credible site, and all of the information in this article has been fact-checked both by her and me. In addition, the article isn’t that old, which means it is very much up-to-date.


READABILITY and CLARITY:
It aims to bring this information to as many people as possible. It is very easy to understand, doesn’t have much astronomy lingo that it doesn’t define for you, and has plenty of pictures to go along with it. This page is appropriate for middle school and older.

EASE OF NAVIGATION:
Though the page is set up in a sort-of weird fashion, it is still fairly easy to navigate through, and has several links and references to other sites in the picture captions. Be careful not to click on an ad link though, as a few are easily mistaken for links for this site.




Picture from the VLT
Picture from the VLT



European Southern Observatory (ESO):
The Orion Nebula: The Jewel in the Sword

http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0104/

Author
Mark McCaughrean

LAST UPDATED
January 17, 2001

DATE REVIEWED
May 12, 2013

REVIEWED BY:
Molly Haley


OVERVIEW:
Though this page has much information about the Orion Nebula, this site also has much information about the means of photographing it. This article explains how advanced these VLT (very large telescopes) are and how much they are helping in understanding this nebula. It also has information about supposed “free floating planets” found in the nebula, and why some astronomers are skeptical in calling these objects “planets.” The last section contains technical information about the telescopes used. There are many images on this site of the Orion Nebula that I had not seen anywhere else as well.

ACCURACY:
The ESO is a very distinguished organization in Astronomy; it’s a collaborative organization run by many different European government agencies. Their telescopes are in high demand and the organization is mainly located in Germany. This is a highly credible source. Its biggest flaw is that it is from 2001, which makes it dated.

READABILITY and CLARITY:
Disregarding the notes and telescope information sections, this page is fairly understandable to many people. It would probably fall into the college-level category, but it still is not too difficult to understand if you were enrolled in an astronomy class in high school and could get past all of the European spellings of words.

EASE OF NAVIGATION:
The sections could be defined more clearly, in my opinion, but other than that it is really easy to navigate. It has many outside links and the menu for its own pages is very comprehensible. I enjoy how there are pictures with links down the right side of the page, and love the images given.