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.

2011 February 21
See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version

Milky Way Over Switzerland
Credit: Stephane Vetter (Nuits sacrees)

Explanation: What's visible in the night sky during this time of year? To help illustrate the answer, a beautiful land, cloud, and skyscape was captured earlier this month over Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Visible in the foreground were the snow covered cliffs of the amphitheater shaped Creux du Van, as well as distant trees, and town-lit clouds. Visible in the night sky (at midnight) were galaxies including the long arch of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy (M31), and the Triangulum galaxy (M33). Star clusters visible included NGC 752, M34, M35, M41, the double cluster, and the Beehive (M44). Nebulas visible included the Orion Nebula (M42), NGC 7822, IC 1396, the Rosette Nebula, the Flaming Star Nebula, the California Nebula, the Heart and Soul Nebulas, and the Pacman Nebula. Rolling your cursor over the above image will bring up labels for all of these. But the above wide angle sky image captured even more sky wonders. What other nebulas can you find in the above image?

Tomorrow's picture: compare stars

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