Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2013 March 4
Explanation: Sprawling across almost 200 light-years, emission nebula IC 1805 is a mix of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds. Derived from its Valentine's-Day-approved shape, its nickname is the Heart Nebula. About 7,500 light-years away in the Perseus spiral arm of our galaxy, stars were born in IC 1805. In fact, near the cosmic heart's centre are the massive hot stars of a newborn star cluster also known as Melotte 15, about 1.5 million years young. A little ironically, the Heart Nebula is located in the constellation of the mythical Queen of Aethiopia (Cassiopeia). This deep view of the region around the Heart Nebula spans about two degrees on the sky or about four times the diameter of the Full Moon.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.