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 November 25
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Stardust in Aries
Credit & Copyright: Alessandro Falesiedi

Explanation: This composition in stardust covers almost 2 degrees on the sky, close to the border of the zodiacal constellation Aries and the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. At the lower right of the gorgeous skyscape is a dusty blue reflection nebula surrounding a bright star cataloged as van den Bergh 13 (vdB 13), about 1,000 light-years away. At that estimated distance, the cosmic canvas is over 30 light-years across. Also surrounded by scattered blue starlight, vdB 16 lies toward the upper left, while dark dusty nebulae sprawl across the scene. Near the edge of a large molecular cloud, they can hide newly formed stars and young stellar objects or protostars from prying optical telescopes. Collapsing due to self-gravity, the protostars form around dense cores embedded in the molecular cloud.

Tomorrow's picture: gas

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