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 29
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The Spider and Fly Nebulas
Image Credit & Copyright: Joe Morris

Explanation: Will the spider ever catch the fly? Not if both are large emission nebulas toward the constellation of the Charioteer (Auriga). The spider-shaped gas cloud on the left is actually an emission nebula labelled IC 417, while the smaller fly-shaped cloud on the right is dubbed NGC 1931 and is both an emission nebula and a reflection nebula. About 10,000 light-years distant, both nebulas harbor young, open star clusters. For scale, the more compact NGC 1931 (Fly) is about 10 light-years across.

Tomorrow's picture: Venusian glow

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