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NGC 1977: The Dove Nebula
In Orion's Belt, just above the Orion Nebula, lies this exotic nebula.
Nicknamed "the Dove" after the ghostly red portion that resembles
the shadow of a bird in flight just above center.
The Dove Nebula lies about 1,500 light years from the Sun.
The gas glows as a result of the intense energy being radiated by the brightest
blue stars near the center of the image. While the red light shows where
hydrogen gas is present and glowing, the blue light is light being
reflected from this star. The blue color has the same origin as the blue
light of our daytime sky - the gas in our atmosphere, like the gas in
this nebula, reflects blue light more readily than red.