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In the night sky: Orion
In the night sky: Orion

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2.1.5 Trapezium cluster

An image of the Trapezium.
Figure 6 A cluster of bright stars, called the ‘Trapezium’.

At the heart of the Orion Nebula is a cluster of bright stars, called the ‘Trapezium’, which can be seen with a telescope, but not the naked eye.

These stars are quite young – only about 300,000 years old – and very hot, and it is the energy they produce which causes the gas in the nebula to glow.

Much more numerous than the bright stars in the Trapezium cluster are fainter bodies called brown dwarfs. You will find out more about these failed stars later in the course.

Next, you’ll find out about the birth of a star.