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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 October 28


See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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The North America Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Ignacio Rico Gualda

Explanation: The North America Nebula in the sky can do what most North Americans on Earth cannot -- form stars. Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall. This beautiful skyscape shows the star forming wall lit and eroded by bright young stars, and partly hidden by the dark dust they have created. The North America Nebula (NGC 7000) spans about 50 light years and lies about 1,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus).


Tomorrow's picture: Mirach's Ghost


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