Stars of the Trapezium light up the spectacular Orion Nebula

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Near the center of this sharp cosmic portrait, at the heart of the Orion Nebula, are four hot, massive stars known as the Trapezium.

Gathered within a region about 1.5 light-years in radius, they dominate the core of the dense Orion Nebula Star Cluster. Ultraviolet ionizing radiation from the Trapezium stars, mostly from the brightest star Theta-1 Orionis C powers the complex star forming region’s entire visible glow.

About three million years old, the Orion Nebula Cluster was even more compact in its younger years and a recent dynamical study indicates that runaway stellar collisions at an earlier age may have formed a black hole with more than 100 times the mass of the Sun.

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