Tag Archives: nebula

Behold: the glorious Orion nebula and what it might be like to fly through it. To wit:

The exciting dynamic visualisation of the Orion Nebula is based on real astronomical data and adept movie rendering techniques. Up close and personal with a famous stellar nursery normally seen from 1,500 light-years away, the digitally modelled representation based is based on infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The perspective moves along a valley over a light-year wide, in the wall of the region’s giant molecular cloud. Orion’s valley ends in a cavity carved by the energetic winds and radiation of the massive central stars of the Trapezium star cluster. The entire Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.

(Video: NASA, Spitzer Space Telescope, Universe of Learning; Visualisation: F. Summers (STScI) et al.; Music & License: Serenade for Strings (A. Dvořák), Advent Chamber Orch.)

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Behold: the Orion nebula, tidied up for your viewing pleasure by energetic stars. To wit:

Also known as M42, the nebula’s glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1,500 light-years away. The Orion Nebula offers one of the best opportunities to study how stars are born partly because it is the nearest large star-forming region, but also because the nebula’s energetic stars have blown away obscuring gas and dust clouds that would otherwise block our view – providing an intimate look at a range of ongoing stages of starbirth and evolution. The featured image of the Orion Nebula is among the sharpest ever, constructed using data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The entire Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.

(Image: NASA, ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive; Processing: Francisco Javier Pobes Serrano)

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Behold:  the normally faint emission nebula IC 410 enhanced with narrowband filters to capture two remarkable inhabitants of this cosmic gas and dust ‘pond’. To wit:

Below and right of centre are the tadpoles of IC 410. Partly obscured by foreground dust, the nebula itself surrounds NGC 1893, a young galactic cluster of stars. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere 4 million years ago, the intensely hot, bright cluster stars energize the glowing gas. Composed of denser cooler gas and dust, the tadpoles are around 10 light-years long and are likely sites of ongoing star formation. Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation their heads are outlined by bright ridges of ionised gas while their tails trail away from the cluster’s central young stars. IC 410 lies some 10,000 light-years away, toward the nebula-rich constellation Auriga.

(Image: Trevor Jones)

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Behold: the colourful cloud complex of one of our nearest star forming regions.

And they call it a ‘dark nebula’. Honestly. To wit:

Rho Ophiuchi itself is a binary star system visible in the blue reflection nebula just to the left of the image center. The star system, located only 400 light years away, is distinguished by its multi-colored surroundings, which include a red emission nebula and numerous light and dark brown dust lanes. Near the lower left of the Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud system is the yellow star Antares, while a distant but coincidently-superposed globular cluster of stars, M4, is visible just to the right of Antares. Near the image top lies IC 4592, the Blue Horsehead nebula. The blue glow that surrounds the Blue Horsehead’s eye — and other stars around the image — is a reflection nebula composed of fine dust. On the featured image right is a geometrically angled reflection nebula cataloged as Sharpless 1. Here, the bright star near the dust vortex creates the light of surrounding reflection nebula. Although most of these features are visible through a small telescope pointed toward the constellations of OphiuchusScorpius, and Sagittarius, the only way to see the intricate details of the dust swirls, as featured above, is to use a long exposure camera.

(Image: Mario Cogo (Galax Lux))

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Behold: NGC 6543 – the brightest and most detailed known planetary nebula, from our perspective at least. The Cat’s Eye Nebula is composed of gas expelled in the death throes of a Sun-like star. To wit:

This nebula‘s dying central star may have produced the outer circular concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. The formation of the beautiful, complex-yet-symmetric inner structures, however, is not well understood. The featured image is a composite of a digitally sharpened Hubble Space Telescope image with X-ray light captured by the orbiting Chandra Observatory. The exquisite floating space statue spans over half a light-year across. Of course, gazing into this Cat’s Eye, humanity may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution … in about 5 billion years.

(Image: NASAESAHubble Legacy ArchiveChandra X-ray Obs.; Rudy Pohl)

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Behold: the massive stars, dust mountains and energetic lights of one of the most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group Of Galaxies, aka N11. To wit:

…the region is visible on the upper right of many images of its home galaxy, the Milky Way neighbor known as the Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC). The featured image was taken for scientific purposes by the Hubble Space Telescope and reprocessed for artistry by an amateur to win a Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition. Although the section imaged above is known as NGC 1763, the entire N11 emission nebula is second in LMC size only to the Tarantula Nebula. Compact globules of dark dusthousing emerging young stars are also visible around the image. A new study of variable stars in the LMC with Hubble has helped to recalibrate the distance scale of the observable universe, but resulted in a slightly different scale than found using the pervasive cosmic microwave background.

(Image: NASAESA; Josh Lake)

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An infrared image of the Helix Nebula, 700 light years away, taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope.

NASA sez:

The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf has long been considered an excellent example of a planetary nebula, representing the final stages in the evolution of a Sun-like star.

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