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.

2014 May 3
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T Tauri and Hind's Variable Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Bill Snyder (at Sierra Remote Observatories)

Explanation: The yellowish star near center in this dusty telescopic skyview is T Tauri, prototype of the class of T Tauri variable stars. Just next door is the yellow cosmic cloud historically known as Hind's Variable Nebula (NGC 1555). Over 400 light-years away, at the edge of an otherwise invisible molecular cloud, both star and nebula are seen to vary significantly in brightness but not necessarily at the same time, adding to the mystery of the intriguing region. T Tauri stars are now generally recognized as young (less than a few million years old), sun-like stars still in the early stages of formation. To further complicate the picture, infrared observations indicate that T Tauri itself is part of a multiple system and suggest that the associated Hind's Nebula may also contain a very young stellar object. The naturally colored image spans about 7 light-years at the estimated distance of T Tauri.

Tomorrow's picture: sky crawler

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