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 August 15
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IC 410 and NGC 1893
Credit & Copyright: Stephen Leshin

Explanation: A faint, dusty rose of the northern sky, emission nebula IC 410 lies about 12,000 light-years away in the constellation Auriga. The cloud of glowing hydrogen gas is over 100 light-years across, sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from embedded open star cluster NGC 1893. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere 4 million years ago, bright cluster stars are seen just below the prominent dark dust cloud near picture center. Notable near the 7 o'clock position in this wide, detailed view are two relatively dense streamers of material trailing away from the nebula's central regions. Potentially sites of ongoing star formation, these cosmic tadpole shapes are about 10 light-years long.

Tomorrow's picture: cosmic continent

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