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.

2009 January 17
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IC 410 and NGC 1893
Credit & Copyright: Jacob Bassøe

Explanation: Dusty emission nebula IC 410 lies about 12,000 light-years away in the northern constellation Auriga. The cloud of glowing 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 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. Emission from sulfur atoms is shown in red, hydrogen atoms in green, and oxygen in blue hues in this false-color, narrow band composite image.

Tomorrow's picture: odd craters

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