Orion -- Atomic Hydrogen

Can you find objects in this image that are in the other images? Can you find the Orion Nebula or traces of the ring that was at the top of the molecular and infrared images?

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Atomic Hydrogen toward Orion
Ronald J. Maddalena 1998
To see where hydrogen is a molecule, click the back arrow button . To see where hydrogen is in the form of ions, click the forward arrow button.
The false-color image to the left, created by the NRAO 140 FT telescope in Green Bank, shows where one can find hydrogen atoms toward Orion. The regions with the most atoms are red. The white regions to the left is where we don't have observations with the 140 FT.

Most of the interstellar gas is hydrogen and most of the hydrogen is in the form of atoms. Thus, astronomers study atomic hydrogen to find out the properties of a good portion of the interstellar gas.

Hydrogen can also be in the form of molecules or ions. If a region of gas is hot enough, molecules can be destroyed and then become atoms or ions. Or, if a region cools then molecules might form from the atoms.

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Ronald J. Maddalena 1998