Astronomy Picture of the Day



NGC 1499: California Nebula

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#69388 by @ 11.03.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
NGC 1499: California Nebula


Explanation:

Drifting through the Orion Arm of the spiral Milky Way Galaxy,
this cosmic cloud
by chance echoes the
outline of California on the west coast of the United States.

Our own Sun also lies within the Milky Way's
Orion
Arm
, only about 1,500 light-years from the California Nebula.

Also known as NGC 1499, the classic emission nebula
is around 100 light-years long.

It glows with the red light characteristic of hydrogen atoms
recombining with
long
lost
electrons, stripped away (ionized)
by energetic starlight.

In this case, the star most likely providing the energetic
starlight is the bright, hot, bluish Xi Persei,
just right of the nebula and above picture center.

Fittingly,
this
composite
picture was made with images from a telescope
in California - the 48-inch (1.2-meter)
Samuel
Oschin Telescope
- taken as a part of the
second National Geographic
Palomar Observatory
Sky Survey.




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