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.

2006 May 19
See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.

The Gum Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Axel Mellinger

Explanation: Named for Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum (1924-1960), The Gum Nebula is so large and close it is actually hard to see. In fact, we are only about 450 light-years from the front edge and 1,500 light-years from the back edge of this cosmic cloud of glowing hydrogen gas. Covered in this 41 degree-wide mosaic of H-alpha images, the faint emission region is otherwise easy to lose against the background of Milky Way stars. The complex nebula is thought to be a supernova remnant over a million years old, sprawling across the southern constellations Vela and Puppis. Sliding your cursor over this spectacular wide field view will reveal the location of objects embedded in The Gum Nebula, including the Vela supernova remnant.

Tomorrow's picture: elliptical galaxy

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