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Jets from the Necklace Nebula

What celestial body wears the Necklace Nebula? First, analyses indicate that the Necklace is a planetary nebula, a gas cloud emitted by a star toward the end of its life. Also, what appears to be diamonds in the Necklace are actually bright knots of glowing gas. In the center of the Necklace Nebula are likely two stars orbiting so close together that they share a common atmosphere and appear as one in the featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope. The red-glowing gas clouds on the upper left and lower right are the results of jets from the center. Exactly when and how the bright jets formed remains a topic of research. The Necklace Nebula is only about 5,000 years old, spans about 5 light years, and can best be found with a large telescope toward the direction of the constellation of the Arrow (Sagitta). via NASA https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210518.html

Studying Urban Air Traffic

Flight Research Inc.’s Bell OH-58C Kiowa helicopter hovers over a helipad after completing an urban air mobility approach at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. via NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/studying-urban-air-traffic

NGC 4565: Galaxy on Edge

Is our Milky Way Galaxy this thin? Magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4565 is viewed edge-on from planet Earth. Also known as the Needle Galaxy for its narrow profile, bright NGC 4565 is a stop on many telescopic tours of the northern sky, in the faint but well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. This sharp, colorful image reveals the spiral galaxy’s boxy, bulging central core cut by obscuring dust lanes that lace NGC 4565’s thin galactic plane. An assortment of other background galaxies is included in the pretty field of view. Thought similar in shape to our own Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 4565 lies about 40 million light-years distant and spans some 100,000 light-years. Easily spotted with small telescopes, sky enthusiasts consider NGC 4565 to be a prominent celestial masterpiece Messier missed. via NASA https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210517.html

NGC 602 and Beyond

The clouds may look like an oyster, and the stars like pearls, but look beyond. Near the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies 5 million year young star cluster NGC 602. Surrounded by natal gas and dust, NGC 602 is featured in this stunning Hubble image of the region. Fantastic ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602’s massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster’s center. At the estimated distance of the Small Magellanic Cloud, the featured picture spans about 200 light-years, but a tantalizing assortment of background galaxies are also visible in this sharp multi-colored view. The background galaxies are hundreds of millions of light-years or more beyond NGC 602. via NASA https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210516.html

The Southern Cliff in the Lagoon

Undulating bright ridges and dusty clouds cross this close-up of the nearby star forming region M8, also known as the Lagoon Nebula. A sharp, false-color composite of narrow band visible and broad band near-infrared data from the 8-meter Gemini South Telescope, the entire view spans about 20 light-years through a region of the nebula sometimes called the Southern Cliff. The highly detailed image explores the association of many newborn stars imbedded in the tips of the bright-rimmed clouds and Herbig-Haro objects. Abundant in star-forming regions, Herbig-Haro objects are produced as powerful jets emitted by young stars in the process of formation heat the surrounding clouds of gas and dust. The cosmic Lagoon is found some 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation Sagittarius and the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. (For location and scale, check out this image superimposing the close-up of the Southern Cliff within the larger Lagoon Nebula. The scale image is courtesy R. Barba’.) via NASA https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210515.html
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