Astronomy Picture of the Day (Unofficial) apod@hub.polari.us

SPACE!

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.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-21 12:30:01.776927

    2019-11-21T18:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 21
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    Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant
    Image Credit & Copyright: David Lindemann

    Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate looping filaments in this detailed image of supernova remnant Simeis 147. Also cataloged as Sharpless 2-240 it goes by the popular nickname, the Spaghetti Nebula. Seen toward the boundary of the constellations Taurus and Auriga, it covers nearly 3 degrees or 6 full moons on the sky. That's about 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. This composite includes image data taken through narrow-band filters where reddish emission from ionized hydrogen atoms and doubly ionized oxygen atoms in faint blue-green hues trace the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core.

    Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-20 12:30:01.999531

    2019-11-20T18:30:05Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 20
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    Arp 273: Battling Galaxies from Hubble
    Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing & Copyright: Rudy Pohl

    Explanation: What's happening to these spiral galaxies? Although details remain uncertain, there sure seems to be a titanic battle going on. The upper galaxy is labelled UGC 1810 by itself, but together with its collisional partners is known as Arp 273. The overall shape of the UGC 1810 -- in particular its blue outer ring -- is likely a result of wild and violent gravitational interactions. The blue color of the outer ring at the top is caused by massive stars that are blue hot and have formed only in the past few million years. The inner part of the upper galaxy -- itself an older spiral galaxy -- appears redder and threaded with cool filamentary dust. A few bright stars appear well in the foreground, unrelated to colliding galaxies, while several far-distant galaxies are visible in the background. Arp 273 lies about 300 million light years away toward the constellation of Andromeda. Quite likely, UGC 1810 will devour its galactic sidekicks over the next billion years and settle into a classic spiral form.

    Tomorrow's picture: open space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-19 12:30:01.859864

    2019-11-19T18:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 19
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    Milky Way over Uruguayan Lighthouse
    Image Credit & Copyright: Mauricio Salazar

    Explanation: Can a lighthouse illuminate a galaxy? No, but in the featured image, gaps in light emanating from the Jose Ignacio Lighthouse in Uruguay appear to match up nicely, although only momentarily and coincidently, with dark dust lanes of our Milky Way Galaxy. The bright dot on the right is the planet Jupiter. The central band of the Milky Way Galaxy is actually the central spiral disk seen from within the disk. The Milky Way band is not easily visible through city lights but can be quite spectacular to see in dark skies. The featured picture is actually the addition of ten consecutive images taken by the same camera from the same location. The images were well planned to exclude direct light from the famous lighthouse.

    Tomorrow's picture: perturbed galaxies
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-18 12:30:02.446013

    2019-11-18T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 18

    Passing Asteroid Arrokoth
    Video Credit: NASA, JHU APL, SwRI

    Explanation: What would it look like to pass asteroid Arrokoth? The robotic New Horizons spacecraft zoomed past Arrokoth in January, 3.5 years after the spacecraft passed Pluto. If this object's name doesn't sound familiar, that may be because the distant, double-lobed, Kuiper-belt object was unofficially dubbed Ultima Thule until recently receiving its official name: 486958 Arrokoth. The featured black and white video animates images of Arrokoth taken by New Horizons at different angles as it zoomed by. The video clearly shows Arrokoth's two lobes, and even hints that the larger lobe is significantly flattened. New Horizons found that Arrokoth is different from any known asteroid in the inner Solar System and is likely composed of two joined planetesimals -- the building blocks of planets as they existed billions of years ago. New Horizons continues to speed out of our Solar System gaining about three additional Earth-Sun separations every year.

    Tomorrow's picture: light the galaxy
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-17 12:30:02.316759

    2019-11-17T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 17
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    Young Stars in the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud
    Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, WISE

    Explanation: How do stars form? To help find out, astronomers created this tantalizing false-color composition of dust clouds and embedded newborn stars in infrared wavelengths with WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. The cosmic canvas features one of the closest star forming regions, part of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex some 400 light-years distant near the southern edge of the pronounceable constellation Ophiuchus. After forming along a large cloud of cold molecular hydrogen gas, young stars heat the surrounding dust to produce the infrared glow. Stars in the process of formation, called young stellar objects or YSOs, are embedded in the compact pinkish nebulae seen here, but are otherwise hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes. An exploration of the region in penetrating infrared light has detected emerging and newly formed stars whose average age is estimated to be a mere 300,000 years. That's extremely young compared to the Sun's age of 5 billion years. The prominent reddish nebula at the lower right surrounding the star Sigma Scorpii is a reflection nebula produced by dust scattering starlight. This view from WISE, released in 2012, spans almost 2 degrees and covers about 14 light-years at the estimated distance of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud.

    Tomorrow's picture: distant flyby
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-16 12:30:02.029538

    2019-11-16T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 16
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    The Star Streams of NGC 5907
    Image Credit & Copyright: R Jay Gabany (Blackbird Observatory) - collaboration; D.Martinez-Delgado(IAC, MPIA),
    J.Penarrubia (U.Victoria) I. Trujillo (IAC) S.Majewski (U.Virginia), M.Pohlen (Cardiff)

    Explanation: Grand tidal streams of stars seem to surround galaxy NGC 5907. The arcing structures form tenuous loops extending more than 150,000 light-years from the narrow, edge-on spiral, also known as the Splinter or Knife Edge Galaxy. Recorded only in very deep exposures, the streams likely represent the ghostly trail of a dwarf galaxy - debris left along the orbit of a smaller satellite galaxy that was gradually torn apart and merged with NGC 5907 over four billion years ago. Ultimately this remarkable discovery image, from a small robotic observatory in New Mexico, supports the cosmological scenario in which large spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, were formed by the accretion of smaller ones. NGC 5907 lies about 40 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Draco.

    Tomorrow's picture: WISE young stars
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-15 12:30:01.975290

    2019-11-15T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 15
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    M16 and the Eagle Nebula
    Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh

    Explanation: A star cluster around 2 million years young surrounded by natal clouds of dust and glowing gas, M16 is also known as The Eagle Nebula. This beautifully detailed portrait of the region was made with groundbased narrow and broadband image data. It includes cosmic sculptures made famous in Hubble Space Telescope close-ups of the starforming complex. Described as elephant trunks or Pillars of Creation, dense, dusty columns rising near the center are light-years in length but are gravitationally contracting to form stars. Energetic radiation from the cluster stars erodes material near the tips, eventually exposing the embedded new stars. Extending from the ridge of bright emission at lower left is another dusty starforming column known as the Fairy of Eagle Nebula. M16 lies about 7,000 light-years away, an easy target for binoculars or small telescopes in a nebula rich part of the sky toward the split constellation Serpens Cauda (the tail of the snake).

    Tomorrow's picture: star streams and galaxies
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-14 12:30:02.213425

    2019-11-14T18:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 14
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    Mercury and the Quiet Sun
    Image Credit & Copyright: John Chumack

    Explanation: On November 11, 2019 the Sun was mostly quiet, experiencing a minimum in its 11 year cycle of activity. In fact, the only spot visible was actually planet Mercury, making a leisurely 5 1/2 hour transit in front of the calm solar disk. About 1/200th the apparent diameter of the Sun, the silhouette of the solar system's inner most planet is near center in this sharp, full Sun snapshot. Taken with a hydrogen alpha filter and safe solar telescope, the image also captures prominences around the solar limb, the glowing plasma trapped in arcing magnetic fields. Of course, only inner planets Mercury and Venus can transit the Sun to appear in silhouette when viewed from planet Earth. Following its transit in 2016, this was Mercury's 4th of 14 transits across the solar disk in the 21st century. The next transit of Mercury will be on November 13, 2032.

    Tomorrow's picture: star streams and galaxies
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-13 12:30:02.468187

    2019-11-13T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 13
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    Mercury in Silhouette
    Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Wise

    Explanation: The small, dark, round spot in this solar close up is planet Mercury. In the high resolution telescopic image, a colorized stack of 61 sharp video frames, a turbulent array of photospheric convection cells tile the bright solar surface. Mercury's more regular silhouette still stands out though. Of course, only inner planets Mercury and Venus can transit the Sun to appear in silhouette when viewed from planet Earth. For this November 11, 2019 transit of Mercury, the innermost planet's silhouette was a mere 1/200th the solar diameter. So even under clear daytime skies it was difficult to see without the aid of a safe solar telescope. Following its transit in 2016, this was Mercury's 4th of 14 transits across the solar disk in the 21st century. The next transit of Mercury will be on November 13, 2032.

    Tomorrow's picture: pixels in the Sun
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-12 12:30:01.685360

    2019-11-12T18:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 12
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    NGC 3717: A Nearly Sideways Spiral Galaxy
    Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Processing: D. Rosario

    Explanation: Some spiral galaxies are seen nearly sideways. Most bright stars in spiral galaxies swirl around the center in a disk, and seen from the side, this disk can appear quite thin. Some spiral galaxies appear even thinner than NGC 3717, which is actually seen tilted just a bit. Spiral galaxies form disks because the original gas collided with itself and cooled as it fell inward. Planets may orbit in disks for similar reasons. The featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a light-colored central bulge composed of older stars beyond filaments of orbiting dark brown dust. NGC 3717 spans about 100,000 light years and lies about 60 million light years away toward the constellation of the Water Snake (Hydra).

    Mercury Crosses the Sun: Some notable images of 2019 transit submitted to APOD
    Tomorrow's picture: a spot on the Sun
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-11 12:30:02.441951

    2019-11-11T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 11
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    Lunar Craters Langrenus and Petavius
    Image Credit & Copyright: Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau

    Explanation: The history of the Moon is partly written in its craters. Pictured here is a lunar panorama taken from Earth featuring the large craters Langrenus, toward the left, and Petavius, toward the right. The craters formed in separate impacts. Langrenus spans about 130 km, has a terraced rim, and sports a central peak rising about 3 km. Petavius is slightly larger with a 180 km diameter and has a distinctive fracture that runs out from its center. Although it is known that Petravius crater is about 3.9 billion years old, the origin of its large fracture is unknown. The craters are best visible a few days after a new Moon, when shadows most greatly accentuate vertical walls and hills. The featured image is a composite of the best of thousands of high-resolution, infrared, video images taken through a small telescope. Although mountains on Earth will likely erode into soil over a billion years, lunar craters Langrenus and Petavius will likely survive many billions more years, possibly until the Sun expands and engulfs both the Earth and Moon.

    Watch: the November 11 Transit of Mercury from Earth or from Space.
    Tomorrow's picture: spiraling sideways
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-10 12:30:02.100440

    2019-11-10T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 10
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    A Mercury Transit Sequence
    Image Credit & Copyright: Dominique Dierick

    Explanation: Tomorrow -- Monday -- Mercury will cross the face of the Sun, as seen from Earth. Called a transit, the last time this happened was in 2016. Because the plane of Mercury's orbit is not exactly coincident with the plane of Earth's orbit, Mercury usually appears to pass over or under the Sun. The featured time-lapse sequence, superimposed on a single frame, was taken from a balcony in Belgium shows the entire transit of 2003 May 7. That solar crossing lasted over five hours, so that the above 23 images were taken roughly 15 minutes apart. The north pole of the Sun, the Earth's orbit, and Mercury's orbit, although all different, all occur in directions slightly above the left of the image. Near the center and on the far right, sunspots are visible. After Monday, the next transit of Mercury will occur in 2032.

    Watch: the November 11 Transit of Mercury from Earth or from Space.
    Tomorrow's picture: inverted moon bumps
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-09 12:30:01.530746

    2019-11-09T18:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 9
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    Saturn the Giant
    Image Credit: NASA

    Explanation: On May 25, 1961 U.S. president John Kennedy announced the goal of landing astronauts on the Moon by the end of the decade. By November 9, 1967 this Saturn V rocket was ready for launch and the first full test of its capabilities on the Apollo 4 mission. Its development directed by rocket pioneer Wernher Von Braun, the three stage Saturn V stood over 36 stories tall. It had a cluster of five first stage engines fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene which together were capable of producing 7.9 million pounds of thrust. Giant Saturn V rockets ultimately hurled nine Apollo missions to the Moon and back again with six landing on the lunar surface. The first landing mission, Apollo 11, achieved Kennedy's goal on July 20, 1969.

    Watch: the November 11 Transit of Mercury from Earth or from Space.
    Tomorrow's picture: WISE Young Stars

    We have lift-off!!!

    JanKusanagi at 2019-11-09T19:43:27Z

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-08 12:30:02.349123

    2019-11-08T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 8
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    NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles
    Image Credit & Copyright: Josep Drudis

    Explanation: This cosmic skyscape features glowing gas and dark dust clouds along side the young stars of NGC 3572. A beautiful emission nebula and star cluster in far southern skies, the region is often overlooked by astroimagers in favor of its brighter neighbor, the nearby Carina Nebula. Stars from NGC 3572 are toward the upper left in the telescopic frame that would measure about 100 light-years across at the cluster's estimated distant of 9,000 light-years. The visible interstellar gas and dust is part of the star cluster's natal molecular cloud. Dense streamers of material within the nebula, eroded by stellar winds and radiation, clearly trail away from the energetic young stars. They are likely sites of ongoing star formation with shapes reminiscent of the cosmic Tadpoles of IC 410 better known to northern skygazers. In the coming tens to hundreds of millions of years, gas and stars in the cluster will be dispersed though, by gravitational tides and by violent supernova explosions that end the short lives of the massive cluster stars.

    Tomorrow's picture: Saturn the Giant
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-07 12:30:01.976907

    2019-11-07T18:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 7
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    Messier 45: The Daughters of Atlas and Pleione
    Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona

    Explanation: Hurtling through a cosmic dust cloud a mere 400 light-years away, the lovely Pleiades or Seven Sisters open star cluster is well-known for its striking blue reflection nebulae. It lies in the night sky toward the constellation Taurus and the Orion Arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. The sister stars and cosmic dust cloud are not related though, they just happen to be passing through the same region of space. Known since antiquity as a compact grouping of stars, Galileo first sketched the star cluster viewed through his telescope with stars too faint to be seen by eye. Charles Messier recorded the position of the cluster as the 45th entry in his famous catalog of things which are not comets. In Greek myth, the Pleiades were seven daughters of the astronomical Titan Atlas and sea-nymph Pleione. Their parents names are included in the cluster's nine brightest stars. This deep and wide telescopic image spans over 20 light-years across the Pleides star cluster.

    Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-06 12:30:01.950624

    2019-11-06T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

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    2019 November 6
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    21st Century M101
    Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, JPL - Caltech, STScI

    Explanation: One of the last entries in Charles Messier's famous catalog, big, beautiful spiral galaxy M101 is definitely not one of the least. About 170,000 light-years across, this galaxy is enormous, almost twice the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. M101 was also one of the original spiral nebulae observed with Lord Rosse's large 19th century telescope, the Leviathan of Parsonstown. In contrast, this multiwavelength view of the large island universe is a composite of images recorded by space-based telescopes in the 21st century. Color coded from X-rays to infrared wavelengths (high to low energies), the image data was taken from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple), the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (blue), Hubble Space Telescope(yellow), and the Spitzer Space Telescope(red). While the X-ray data trace the location of multimillion degree gas around M101's exploded stars and neutron star and black hole binary star systems, the lower energy data follow the stars and dust that define M101's grand spiral arms. Also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy, M101 lies within the boundaries of the northern constellation Ursa Major, about 25 million light-years away.

    Tomorrow's picture: The Titan's daughters

    Niiiiiiiiiiice 😎

    JanKusanagi at 2019-11-06T18:50:43Z

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-05 12:30:02.323460

    2019-11-05T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 5
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    Spiral Galaxies Spinning Super-Fast
    Image Credit: Top row: NASA, ESA, Hubble, P. Ogle & J. DePasquale (STScI);
    Bottom row: SDSS, P. Ogle & J. DePasquale (STScI)

    Explanation: Why are these galaxies spinning so fast? If you estimated each spiral's mass by how much light it emits, their fast rotations should break them apart. The leading hypothesis as to why these galaxies don't break apart is dark matter -- mass so dark we can't see it. But these galaxies are even out-spinning this break-up limit -- they are the fastest rotating disk galaxies known. It is therefore further hypothesized that their dark matter halos are so massive -- and their spins so fast -- that it is harder for them to form stars than regular spirals. If so, then these galaxies may be among the most massive spirals possible. Further study of surprising super-spirals like these will continue, likely including observations taken by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for launch in 2021.

    Tomorrow's picture: open space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-04 12:30:02.167784

    2019-11-04T18:30:04Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 4
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    Near the Center of the Lagoon Nebula
    Image Credit & Copyright: Zhuoqun Wu, Chilescope

    Explanation: Stars are battling gas and dust in the Lagoon Nebula but the photographers are winning. Also known as M8, this photogenic nebula is visible even without binoculars towards the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). The energetic processes of star formation create not only the colors but the chaos. The glowing gas results from high-energy starlight striking interstellar hydrogen gas and trace amounts of sulfur, and oxygen gases. The dark dust filaments that lace M8 were created in the atmospheres of cool giant stars and in the debris from supernovae explosions. The light from M8 we see today left about 5,000 years ago. Light takes about 50 years to cross this section of M8.

    Tomorrow's picture: super spirals
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-03 12:30:02.084194

    2019-11-03T18:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 3
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    Daphnis and the Rings of Saturn
    Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute, Cassini

    Explanation: What's happening to the rings of Saturn? A little moon making big waves. The moon is 8-kilometer Daphnis and it is making waves in the Keeler Gap of Saturn's rings using just its gravity -- as it bobs up and down, in and out. The featured image is a colored and more detailed version of a previously released images taken in 2017 by the robotic Cassini spacecraft during one of its Grand Finale orbits. Daphnis can be seen on the far right, sporting ridges likely accumulated from ring particles. Daphnis was discovered in Cassini images in 2005 and raised mounds of ring particles so high in 2009 -- during Saturn's equinox when the ring plane pointed directly at the Sun -- that they cast notable shadows.

    Tomorrow's picture: turmoil in a stellar lagoon
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-11-02 12:30:01.558051

    2019-11-02T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    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.

    2019 November 2
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    Inside the Flame Nebula
    Image Credit & Copyright: Optical: DSS; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech;
    X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/ K.Getman, E.Feigelson, M.Kuhn & the MYStIX team

    Explanation: The Flame Nebula stands out in this optical image of the dusty, crowded star forming regions toward Orion's belt, a mere 1,400 light-years away. X-ray data from the Chandra Observatory and infrared images from the Spitzer Space Telescope can take you inside the glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds though. Swiping your cursor (or clicking the image) will reveal many stars of the recently formed, embedded cluster NGC 2024, ranging in age from 200,000 years to 1.5 million years young. The X-ray/infrared composite image overlay spans about 15 light-years across the Flame's center. The X-ray/infrared data also indicate that the youngest stars are concentrated near the middle of the Flame Nebula cluster. That's the opposite of the simplest models of star formation for the stellar nursery that predict star formation begins in the denser center of a molecular cloud core. The result requires a more complex model; perhaps star formation continues longer in the center, or older stars are ejected from the center due to subcluster mergers.

    Tomorrow's picture: surfin' the rings