Astronomy Picture of the Day
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July 4, 1995
The Firework Nebula
Picture Credit: WIYN Telescope
The Firework Nebula, known to astronomers as "GK Per", is the result of
a type of stellar explosion called a nova. In a nova, a very compact
star called a white dwarf blasts away gas that had accumulated on its
surface. In this case the nova occurred in the year 1901 and is called
Nova Persei 1901. This nova became as bright as one of
the brighter stars we see in the night sky, but then faded until only a
telescope could see it. Soon astronomers could see an expanding shell
of gas that eventually became this spectacular nebula. The unusual
"fireworks" type feature of this nebula is still a matter of research
For more information see the
Wiyn Telescope press release.
Next APOD featuring this image:
July 4 1998
Tomorrow's picture: The Night Side of Saturn
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