M43 is actually a part of M42 which is seperated from the main nebula by an impressive, turbulent dark lane. It was first reported by de Mairan in 1733 as a "brilliance surrounding a star" which he thought was "very similar to the atmosphere of our Sun, if it were dense enough and extensive enough to be visible in telescopes at a similar distance".
The diffuse nebula M43 surrounds the irregular young "nebula variable" NU Orionis of magnitude 6.5-7.6. The dark features along its eastern border are well visible in telescopes starting at about 8 inch.
Alister Ling in his recent review of observing the Orion nebula with
filters (Astronomy, December 1995 issue), mentions the Comma shape of this
More images of M43; More images of M42 and M43 (with NGC 1973-5-7)
Bill Arnett's Orion Nebula M42/43 photo page, info page.
|Right ascension||05 : 33.1 (hours : minutes)|
|Declination||-05 : 18 (degrees : minutes)|