A Lucky Catch

This image was taken with the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. It was part of a “snapshot” survey, observations that are fitted into Hubble’s schedule when possible, without any guarantee that the observation will take place. It was fortunate that the observation was made at all. This picture shows a little-known nebula IRAS 05437+2502 billowing among the bright stars and dark dust clouds that surround it.

The nebula is in the constellation of Taurus, close to the central plane of the Milky Way. Unlike many of Hubble’s targets, this object has not been studied in detail, and its exact nature is unclear. The faint cloud was originally discovered in 1983 by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), the first space telescope to survey the whole sky in infrared light. IRAS found a large number of new objects invisible from the ground.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

North America

Nord_americaThe North America Nebula (aka NGC 7000) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, close to Deneb, the bright star at the tail of the Swan. The remarkable shape of the nebula resembles that of the continent of North America, complete with a prominent Gulf of Mexico. It is sometimes incorrectly called the “North American Nebula”.

The nebula appears large (about 4X the area of the Moon) but very dim in the sky. It can’t be seen with the naked eye but is visible with good binoculars with a dark sky.

Image Credit: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

NGC 6604

This video pans across the region around star cluster NGC 6604. It’s derived from an image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope in Chile. The picture also shows the cluster’s associated nebula, a cloud of glowing hydrogen gas that is called Sh2-54.

Video Credit: ESO