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.

2013 January 9
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
the highest resolution version available.

The Elusive Jellyfish Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Dieter Willasch (Astro-Cabinet)

Explanation: Normally faint and elusive, the Jellyfish Nebula is caught in this alluring telescopic view. Drifting near bright star Eta Geminorum, at the foot of a celestial twin, the Jellyfish Nebula is seen dangling tentacles from the bright arcing ridge of emission left of center. In fact, the cosmic jellyfish is part of bubble-shaped supernova remnant IC 443, the expanding debris cloud from a massive star that exploded. Light from the explosion first reached planet Earth over 30,000 years ago. Like its cousin in astrophysical waters the Crab Nebula supernova remnant, IC 443 is known to harbor a neutron star, the remnant of the collapsed stellar core. The Jellyfish Nebula is about 5,000 light-years away. At that distance, this image would be about 100 light-years across.

Best of APOD 2012: Download a free 2013 APOD Calendar
Tomorrow's picture: Orion's bullets

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.