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.
2011 September 14
Explanation: To the eye, this cosmic composition nicely balances the Bubble Nebula at the lower right with open star cluster M52. The pair would be lopsided on other scales, though. Embedded in a complex of interstellar dust and gas and blown by the winds from a single, massive O-type star, the Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, is a mere 10 light-years wide. On the other hand, M52 is a rich open cluster of around a thousand stars. The cluster is about 25 light-years across. Seen toward the northern boundary of Cassiopeia, distance estimates for the Bubble Nebula and associated cloud complex are around 11,000 light-years, while star cluster M52 lies nearly 5,000 light-years away. The wide telescopic field of view spans about 1.5 degrees on the sky or three times the apparent size of the Full Moon.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.