We take our name from the "Local Group of Galaxies" in which our galaxy, The Milky Way, is one of the larger members. The Local Group has more than 50 galaxies spread over a distance of 10 million light years. Prominent members include the Andromeda galaxy (left, click image to enlarge), M31, and its satellites M32 and M110; the Triangulum galaxy, M33 and our own Milky Way. Our Local Group forms part of the Virgo Supercluster. Use this link to find out more about our local group of galaxies .
Images from The Local Group ~ September 2016
The bright star Alnitak (ζ Ori), the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula.
At the center of the Flame Nebula is a cluster of newly formed stars, 86% of which have circumstellar disks. X-ray observations by the Chandra X-ray Observatory show several hundred young stars, out of an estimated population of 800 stars. X-ray and infrared images indicate that the youngest stars are concentrated near the center of the cluster.
Image: Roy Bicknell: 22 x 60second images stacked and finished in Photoshop; using a f/5 400mm refractor and Canon 450D DSLR at prime focus.