Astronomy Picture of the Day

Stars and Dust Across Corona Australis

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Stars and Dust Across Corona Australis

A cosmic dust cloud sprawls across a rich field of stars in this gorgeous
wide field telescopic vista looking toward
Corona Australis, the Southern Crown.

Probably less than 500 light-years away and
effectively blocking light from
more distant, background stars in the
Milky Way,
the densest
part of the dust cloud is about 8 light-years long.

At its tip
(lower left) is a series of lovely blue nebulae cataloged as
NGC 6726, 6727, 6729, and
IC 4812.

Their characteristic blue color is produced as light
from hot stars is reflected by
the cosmic dust.

The tiny but intriguing yellowish arc visible near
the blue nebulae marks young variable star
R Coronae Australis.

globular star cluster NGC 6723
is seen here
below and left of the nebulae.

While NGC 6723 appears to be just outside
Corona Australis in the constellation Sagittarius,
it actually lies nearly 30,000
light-years away, far beyond
the Corona Australis dust cloud.

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