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.

2008 April 22
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The Fox Fur Nebula from CFHT
Credit & Copyright: Jean-Charles Cuillandre (CFHT) & Giovanni Anselmi (Coelum Astronomia), Hawaiian Starlight

Explanation: This interstellar beast is formed of cosmic dust and gas interacting with the energetic light and winds from hot young stars. The shape, visual texture, and color, combine to give the region the popular name Fox Fur Nebula. The characteristic blue glow on the left is dust reflecting light from the bright star S Mon, just beyond the left edge of the image. Mottled pink and brown areas are a combination of the cosmic dust and reddish emission from ionized hydrogen gas. S Mon is part of a young open cluster of stars, NGC 2264, located about 2,500 light years away toward the constellation of Monoceros, just north of the Cone Nebula.

Tomorrow's picture: above the clouds

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