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.

2018 January 24
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The Tadpoles of IC 410
Image Credit: Juan Ignacio Jimenez

Explanation: This telescopic close-up shows off the otherwise faint emission nebula IC 410. It also features two remarkable inhabitants of the cosmic pond of gas and dust below and left of center, 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 winds and radiation from the cluster stars, their heads are outlined by bright ridges of ionized gas while their tails trail away from the cluster's central region. IC 410 lies some 10,000 light-years away, toward the nebula-rich constellation Auriga.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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