Using the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft, astronomers captured a new image of the Flame Nebula, which is located on the eastern hip of Orion the Hunter. The object is also known among experts under the designations NGC 2024 and Sh2-277.
The object is cataloged as an emission nebula, meaning that it shines very bright in multiple colors, due to a phenomenon called ionization. This is caused by the nebula's proximity to a very hot star. In the case of this particular nebula, the star is called Alnitak.
Since WISE surveyed the sky in infrared wavelengths, the observatory was highly qualified at snapping images of such objects. This is made clearly visible by the abundance of details in the photo.
The Flame Nebula is a stellar nursery, a massive conglomeration of molecular hydrogen gas clouds that collapse to give birth to new stars.