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.

2015 October 29
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IC 1871: Inside the Soul Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Sara Wager

Explanation: This cosmic close-up looks deep inside the Soul Nebula. The dark and brooding dust clouds outlined by bright ridges of glowing gas are cataloged as IC 1871. About 25 light-years across, the telescopic field of view spans only a small part of the much larger Heart and Soul nebulae. At an estimated distance of 6,500 light-years the star-forming complex lies within the Perseus spiral arm of the Milky Way, seen in planet Earth's skies toward the constellation Cassiopeia. An example of triggered star formation, the dense star-forming clouds of IC 1871 are themselves sculpted by the intense winds and radiation of the region's massive young stars. This color image adopts a palette made popular in Hubble images of star-forming regions.

Tomorrow's picture: toil and trouble

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