Proplyds in the Orion Nebula

Glowing protoplanetary disks (first discovered with the Hubble in 1992, and dubbed "proplyds") that are believed to be embryonic solar systems that will eventually form planets. (Our solar system has long been considered the relic of just such a disk that formed around the newborn Sun). The abundance of such objects in the Orion nebula strengthens the argument that planet formation is a common occurrence in the universe. Some of the proplyds, those that are closest to the Trapezium stars at the centre of the Orion Nebula, are shedding some of their gas and dust. The pressure of starlight from the hottest stars forms "tails" which act like wind vanes pointing away from the Trapezium. These tails result from the light from the star pushing the dust and gas away from the outside layers of the proplyds. In addition to the luminescent proplyds, seven disks are silhouetted against the bright background of the nebula. These dark objects allow Hubble astronomers to estimate the masses of the disks as at least 0.1 to 730 times the mass of our Earth.


NASA, C.R. O'Dell and S.K. Wong (Rice University)

About the Image

NASA press release
Release date:20 November 1995, 06:00
Size:920 x 744 px

About the Object

Name:Messier 42, Orion Nebula, Orion Proplyd
Type:Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Star Formation
Milky Way : Nebula : Appearance : Dark : Proplyd
Distance:1400 light years

Image Formats

r.titleLarge JPEG
230.0 KB
r.titleScreensize JPEG
286.7 KB

Also see our

Privacy policy Accelerated by CDN77