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Monday, October 21, 2013

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Sh2-155: The Cave Nebula 
Back after the government shutdown, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

This colorful skyscape features the dusty, reddish glow of Sharpless catalog emission region Sh2-155, the Cave Nebula. About 2,400 light-years away, the scene lies along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the royal northern constellation of Cepheus.

Astronomical explorations of the region reveal that it has formed at the boundary of the massive Cepheus B molecular cloud and the hot, young, blue stars of the Cepheus OB 3 association.

The bright rim of ionized hydrogen gas is energized by the radiation from the hot stars, dominated by the bright blue O-type star picture center. 

Radiation driven ionization fronts are likely triggering collapsing cores and new star formation within. Appropriately sized for a stellar nursery, the cosmic cave is over 10 light-years across.

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Image Credit & CopyrightJimmy Walker