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 March 5
Explanation: The plane of our Milky Way Galaxy runs right through Auriga, the Charioteer. A good part of the ancient northern constellation's rich collection of nebulae and star clusters is featured in this expansive, 10 degree wide skyscape. Bright star Elnath lies near the bottom right, linking Auriga to another constellation, Taurus, the Bull. Three open star clusters, Charles Messier's M36, M37, and M38 line up in the dense star field above and left of Elnath, familiar to many binocular-equipped skygazers. But the deep exposure also brings out the reddish emission nebulae of star-forming regions IC 405, IC 410, and IC 417. E. E. Barnard's dark nebulae B34 and B226 just stand out against a brighter background. For help identifying even more of Auriga's deep sky highlights, put your cursor over the image.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.