Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 October 2
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Reflections on the 1970s
Credit & Copyright: Dean Jacobsen

Explanation: The 1970s are often overlooked. In particular, the beautiful grouping of reflection nebulae NGC 1977, NGC 1975, and NGC 1973 in Orion are often overlooked in favor of the substantial stellar nursery better known as the Orion Nebula. Found along the sword of Orion just north of the bright Orion Nebula complex, these nebulae are also associated with Orion's giant molecular cloud which lies about 1,500 light-years away, but are dominated by the characteristic blue color of interstellar dust reflecting light from hot young stars. In this sharp color image a portion of the Orion Nebula appears along the bottom border with the cluster of reflection nebulae at picture center. NGC 1977 stretches across the field just below center, separated from NGC 1973 (above right) and NGC 1975 (above left) by dark regions laced with faint red emission from hydrogen atoms. Taken together, the dark regions suggest to many the shape of a running man.

Tomorrow's picture: cold comet

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.