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.

2005 November 29
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Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant from Palomar
Credit: Digitized Sky Survey, ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator
Color Composite: Davide De Martin (Skyfactory)

Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate filaments in this detailed image of faint supernova remnant Simeis 147. Seen towards the constellation Taurus it covers nearly 3 degrees (6 full moons) on the sky corresponding to a width of 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. The above image is a color composite of 66 blue and red color band images from the National Geographic Palomar Observatory Sky Survey taken with the wide field Samuel Oschin 48-inch Telescope. The area of the sky shown covers over 70 times the area of the full Moon. This supernova remnant has an apparent age of about 100,000 years - meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth 100,000 years ago - but this expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core.

Tomorrow's picture: Horsehead rides again

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