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.

2010 January 13
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The Spider and The Fly
Credit & Copyright: Troy Tsounis

Explanation: Bright clusters and nebulae abound in the ancient northern constellation of Auriga. The region includes the open star cluster M38, emission nebula IC 410 with Tadpoles, Auriga's own Flaming Star Nebula IC 405, and this interesting pair IC 417 (lower left) and NGC 1931. An imaginative eye toward the expansive IC 417 and diminutive NGC 1931 suggests a cosmic spider and fly. About 10,000 light-years distant, both represent young, open star clusters formed in interstellar clouds and still embedded in glowing hydrogen gas. For scale, the more compact NGC 1931 is about 10 light-years across.

Note: An APOD editor will review great space images on Thursday, January 14, in Houghton, Michigan.

Tomorrow's picture: up a winding stair

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