M43 - De Mairin's Nebula
Credits: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team)
Separated from the Orion Nebula (M42) by only a dark lane of dust, M43 was recognized as a distinct nebula by the French astronomer Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan in 1731. A massive star is illuminating M43 and sculpting its landscape of dust and gas with its radiation. Astronomers call the area a miniature Orion Nebula because of its small size and the single star that is shaping it. The Orion Nebula itself is much larger and has four hefty stars that are carving the dust-and-gas terrain.
Facts about M43 by Keith Turnecliff
Located 1,600 light-years from Earth, M43 has an apparent magnitude of 9. It can be spotted through a small telescope and is best observed during January.
It is frequently photographed together with M42 - The Orion Nebula.