Astronomy Picture of the Day

Melotte 15 in the Heart
Image Credit & Copyright: Steve Cooper

Explanation: Cosmic clouds form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. The clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula’s newborn star cluster, Melotte 15. About 1.5 million years young, the cluster stars are scattered in this colorful skyscape, along with dark dust clouds in silhouette against glowing atomic gas. A composite of narrowband and broadband telescopic images, the view spans about 15 light-years and includes emission from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms mapped to green, red, and blue hues in the popular Hubble Palette. Wider field images reveal that IC 1805’s simpler, overall outline suggests its popular name – The Heart Nebula. IC 1805 is located about 7,500 light years away toward the boastful constellation Cassiopeia.

Tomorrow’s picture: Voyager’s solar system

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