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Astronomy Picture of the Day

Posted By Editor On March 7, 2012 @ 10:23 am In Photo Essays | Comments Disabled

Is this a painting or a photograph? In this beautiful celestial still life composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 shines near the image center. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 is joined by other bluish reflection nebulae, a red emission region, many dark absorption nebulae, and a backdrop of colorful stars.
NGC 2170: Celestial Still Life 
Image Credit & Copyright: Leonardo Julio & Carlos Milovic (Astronomia Pampeana [2])

Explanation: Is this a painting or a photograph? In this beautiful celestial still life [3] composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 [4] shines near the image center. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 [5] is joined by other bluish reflection [6] nebulae, a red emission [7] region, many dark absorption nebulae [8], and a backdrop of colorful stars [9]. Like the common household items still life painters [10] often choose for their subjects, the clouds of gas, dust, and hot stars pictured above [11] are also commonly found in this setting – a massive, star-forming molecular cloud in the constellation of the Unicorn [12] (Monoceros [13]). The giant molecular cloud [14]Mon R2 [15], is impressively close, estimated [16] to be only 2,400 light-years [17] or so away. At that distance, this canvas [18] would be over 60 light-years across.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ngc2170_julio_1920x.jpg

[2] Astronomia Pampeana: http://astronomiapampeana.com.ar/

[3] still life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Still_life

[4] NGC 2170: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_2170

[5] NGC 2170: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap070228.html

[6] reflection: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/reflection_nebulae.html

[7] emission: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/emission_nebulae.html

[8] absorption nebulae: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/dark_nebulae.html

[9] colorful stars: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080803.html

[10] still life painters: http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/s/still-life/1701-1850.html

[11] pictured above: http://astronomiapampeana.com.ar/foto/80/NGC-2170.html

[12] Unicorn: http://www.forkparty.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Unicorn-Dog.jpg

[13] Monoceros: http://www.hawastsoc.org/deepsky/mon/index.html

[14] molecular cloud: http://archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Cyberia/Bima/GMC.html

[15] Mon R2: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1997AJ....114..198C

[16] estimated: http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/abs/2005A%26A...430..523W

[17] light-years: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/cosmic_distance.html

[18] canvas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL5KZWDe8x8

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