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Astronomy Picture of the Day

At the estimated distance of NGC 7129 (3,000 light-years), this telescopic view spans about 40 light-years.

 

[1]

Young Suns of NGC 7129 
Image Credit & Copyright [2]Johannes Schedler (Panther Observatory [3])

Explanation: Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129 [4], some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus [5]. While these stars [6] are at a relatively tender age, only a few million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a similar stellar nursery some five billion years ago. Most noticeable in the sharp image [7] are the lovely bluish dust clouds that reflect [8] the youthful starlight. But the compact, deep red crescent shapes are also markers of energetic, young stellar objects. Known as Herbig-Haro [9] objects, their shape and color is characteristic of glowing hydrogen gasshocked by jets [10] streaming away from newborn stars. Paler, extended filaments of redish emission [11] mingling with the bluish clouds are caused by dust grains effectively converting the invisible ultraviolet starlight to visible red light through photoluminesence [12]. Ultimately the natal gas and dust in the region will be dispersed, the stars drifting apart [13] as the loose cluster orbits the center of the Galaxy. At the estimated distance of NGC 7129 [14], this telescopic view spans about 40 light-years.