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Running Man Nebula

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

Proper NameRunning Man Nebula
Messier NumberNone
NGC/IC NumbersNGC 1973, NGC 1975, NGC 1977
Other DesignationsSh2-279
ConstellationOrion
Right Ascension5h 35m 18s
Declination-4° 41' 5"
Distancec.1,300 light years
c.400 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +7.00
Absolute: -1.66
DiameterApparent: 10'x5'
Actual: 5 light years
Associated StarsOpen cluster NGC 1981; the nebula is illuminated by the stars 45 Orionis, V359 Orionis and c Orionis
Optimum VisibilityDecember / January

A reflection nebula in the Sword of Orion, southward 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, approximately 1,300 light years or more from the Solar System.

Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

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, V359 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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