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Running Man Nebula

NGC 1973, NGC 1975, NGC 1977, Sh2-279

A reflection nebula in the Sword of Orion, south from the famous Belt of Orion, and a little to the north of the more prominent and extensive Orion Nebula. Like that larger nebula, the Running Man is associated with the Orion Molecular Cloud, some 1,300 light years or more from the Solar System.

The Running Man Nebula is visible because it reflects the light of newly born blue stars in this part of space, especially an approximate line of three stars: 45 Orionis, V0359 Orionis and c Orionis. The nebula itself does not have a uniform structure, and contains lanes of dark material that form a shape reminiscent of a running human form, hence its name. Three different parts of the nebula are individually identified in the New General Catalogue: NGC 1973 in the northeast, NGC 1975 in the northwest and NGC 1977 in the south.

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