Astronomy Picture of the Day

Long Stem Rosette

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Long Stem Rosette


The Rosette Nebula (aka NGC 2237) is not the only cosmic cloud
of gas and dust to evoke the imagery
of flowers.

But it is the one most often suggested as a suitable astronomy image for
Valentine's Day.

Of the many excellent
Rosette Nebula pictures
submitted to APOD editors,
this view
seemed most appropriate, with a
long stem of
glowing hydrogen gas in the region
included in the composition.

At the edge of a large
molecular cloud
in Monoceros, some 5,000 light
years away, the petals of this rose are actually a
stellar nursery whose lovely, symmetric shape is sculpted by the
winds and radiation from its central cluster of
hot young stars.

The stars in the energetic cluster, cataloged
as NGC 2244,
are only a few million years old, while the central cavity
in the Rosette Nebula is about 50 light-years in diameter.

Valentine's Day

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