The great nebula in Orion is the nearest star-forming region. It is at a
distance of 1350 light years. It is just south of the celestial
equator and can be seen from most inhabited parts of the Earth's
surface. A similar image also exists as a
colour version and more detailed views are seen in AAO colour
images AAT 19 and AAT 29.
The extreme brightness range of the object makes simultaneous photography of the faint extensions and structured inner parts very difficult. This image has been printed through an unsharp mask, which preserves the fine detail without losing the impression of wide brightness range in the original object. To make the quivalent colour picture, three separate plates had to be copied through unsharp masks in a way that did not affect the overall colour balance.
The print from which this picture was made was published in Sky and Telescope in 1979