AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 1 The Orion Nebula: Structure and Population
Invited, Monday, May 26, 2003, 8:30am-9:20am, 205/206

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[1.01] The Orion Nebula: Structure and Population

C. R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt University)

As the closest bright HII region and the closest region involving formation of massive stars, it seems appropriate that the Orion Nebula has received particular attention by many authors and been observed by the most modern observatories. Arguably, it is the prototype for star formation, so that what we learn from it may find broad application.

Recent work with the HST, VLA, Chandra, and a host of ground facilities has shown that we can construct an accurate 3-D model of the nebula itself, this being a thin layer of photoionized gas on the near side of a giant molecular cloud. The associated star cluster is massive and dense and appears to be less than 106 years old. Most of the stars in the cluster are known to be surrounded by circumstellar material and a large fraction of these are rendered visible through being in the HII region. The speed at which this circumstellar material is being photo-evaporated argues either that they are much more massive than ordinary, or that the hottest stars in the cluster have formed within the last 105 years. The proximity of the nebula has allowed the determination of the movement of shocks and jets that accompany the star formation, a process that is continuing to the present.

This work is summarized in a fly-through of the nebula.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: cr.odell@vanderbilt.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.