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.

2012 April 17
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Antares and Clouds
Image Credit & Copyright: Ivan Eder

Explanation: Antares is a huge star. In a class called red supergiant, Antares is about 850 times the diameter of our own Sun, 15 times more massive, and 10,000 times brighter. Antares is the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius and one of the brighter stars in all the night sky. Located about 550 light years away, Antares is seen on the left surrounded by a yellowish nebula of gas which it has itself expelled. Radiation from Antares' blue stellar companion helps cause the nebular gas to glow. Far behind Antares, to the lower right in the above image, is the globular star cloud M4, while the bright star on the far right is Al Niyat.

Tomorrow's picture: flight deck

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