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.

2010 March 5
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Deep Auriga
Image Credit & Copyright: Tunç Tezel (TWAN)

Explanation: The plane of our Milky Way Galaxy runs right through Auriga, the Charioteer. A good part of the ancient northern constellation's rich collection of nebulae and star clusters is featured in this expansive, 10 degree wide skyscape. Bright star Elnath lies near the bottom right, linking Auriga to another constellation, Taurus, the Bull. Three open star clusters, Charles Messier's M36, M37, and M38 line up in the dense star field above and left of Elnath, familiar to many binocular-equiped skygazers. But the deep exposure also brings out the reddish emission nebulae of star-forming regions IC 405, IC 410, and IC 417. E. E. Barnard's dark nebulae B34 and B226 just stand out against a brighter background. For help identifying even more of Auriga's deep sky highlights, put your cursor over the image.

Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space

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