Astronomy Picture of the Day: 4/20/13 – The Horsehead Nebula in Infrared

4. 20. 13 by Jaime Trosper
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

 

Happy weekend, everyone!  In celebration of Hubble’s 23rd year in orbit, revolutionizing the fields of astronomy and physics, this new image was released to the general public.

 

If it looks familiar, it should.This is the famous Horsehead nebula (also known as Barnard 33) as seen when viewed at infrared wavelengths. The Horsehead nebula is located in the Orion Molecular Cloud (in the constellation of the same name), which is more than 1,500 light-years distant.

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Viewing celestial objects at different wavelengths is extremely useful to astronomers, as each wavelength unravels characteristics that might not be noticed otherwise. In this case, when looking at the Horsehead nebula in infrared, astronomers can see the star formation occurring within the dense interstellar clouds, which are typically opaque to visible light.


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