Astronomy Picture of the Day: 12/26/13 – The Snowflake Cluster

 Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, P. S. Teixeira (CfA)
Image Credit:  NASA, JPL-Caltech, P. S. Teixeira (CfA)


And in yet another holiday-themed image, we come across a quaint little cluster of stars – aptly called the Snowflake Cluster – hanging out in the neighborhood of the famous cone nebula. The pair are located approximately 2,500 light-years from Earth in the Monoceros constellation.


The region is populated by a large number of stars that are currently in the process of forming. When viewed at non-optical wavelengths, the protostars appear as pink or red tiny, patchy dots in the sky — like snow… very deadly snow. In any event, now you know where it got its name! Too bad that when the protostars arise from their cocoon – during the transition into main-sequence mode – their impact on the region will be seen and felt throughout.

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