The Orion Molecular Filaments

The two Orion Molecular filaments, seen so clearly in the molecular map and somewhat in the infrared image of Orion, remain an enigma to astronomers. They are very long but narrow molecular clouds unlike any other molecular clouds in Orion or anywhere else in space. The two filaments are almost parallel and mysteriously extend to the left from the top and bottom of the giant clouds in Orion. The flamboyant star formation one usually see associated with molecular clouds of the same size is not happening within these clouds. Astronomers speculate that magnetic fields and something about the history of the region has created the filaments. Maybe, one day we'll understand what is going on with these objects.

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Ronald J. Maddalena 1998