Apparent: 10° Actual: 100 to 300 light years, depending on distance
December / January
A ring of matter that occupies the central region of Orion. It is thought to be caused by
the active regions of Orion's Belt, and is immense in extent. It is more than two
hundred light years across, and almost surrounds the famous shape of the
Hunter in the night sky. The Loop is too faint to be detected with the naked eye.
This image of the southern parts of Orion is filtered to highlight ionised hydrogen, making Barnard's Loop stand out distinctly as a wide 'C'-shaped structure. The two bright areas within the Loop represent the Orion Nebula (to the south) and the complex nebulosity around the starAlnitak in Orion's Belt (to the north). Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas