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.

2007 May 11
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LDN 1622: Dark Nebula in Orion
Data: Digitized Sky Survey (POSS-II), Color Composite: Noel Carboni

Explanation: The silhouette of an intriguing dark nebula inhabits this cosmic scene, based on images from the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey. Lynds' Dark Nebula (LDN) 1622 appears against a faint background of glowing hydrogen gas only easily seen in long telescopic exposures of the region. LDN 1622 lies near the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, close on the sky to Barnard's Loop - a large cloud surrounding the rich complex of emission nebulae found in the Belt and Sword of Orion. But the obscuring dust of LDN 1622 is thought to be much closer than Orion's more famous nebulae, perhaps only 500 light-years away. At that distance, this 1 degree wide field of view would span less than 10 light-years.

Tomorrow's picture: on a planet far, far away

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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