Astronomy Picture of the Day



NGC 1499: The California Nebula

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#94006 by @ 25.09.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
NGC 1499: The California Nebula


Explanation:
What's California doing in space?

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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