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.

April 11, 1998
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

NGC 604: Giant Stellar Nursery
Credit: H. Yang (UIUC), HST, NASA

Explanation: Scattered within this cavernous nebula, cataloged as NGC 604, are over 200 newly formed hot, massive, stars. At 1,500 light-years across, this expansive cloud of interstellar gas and dust is effectively a giant stellar nursery located some three million light-years distant in the spiral galaxy, M33. The newborn stars irradiate the gas with energetic ultraviolet light stripping electrons from atoms and producing a characteristic nebular glow. The details of the nebula's structure hold clues to the mysteries of star formation and galaxy evolution.

Tomorrow's picture: Eagle's EGGs

< Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.