Astronomy Picture of the Day: 4/21/13 – NGC 1788 & Witch’s Whiskers

Jaime TrosperApril 21st 2013
Image Credit: John Davis
Image Credit: John Davis

This is NGC 1788 with the Witch’s Whiskers, which is located more than 800 light-years from Earth (in the constellation of Orion).


This busy starscape is laden to hundred, perhaps even thousands, of baby stars, with many of them being hot, massive blue-white stars. These energetic stars emit ultraviolet light through the confines of the nebula, ionizing the hydrogen gas clouds that make it (and the dust filaments) so intricate.


Most notably, is the bright star Rigel (also known as Beta Orionis), that can be seen near the chin of the Witch Head (the blush part) nebula in the upper left. Overall, this star is the brightest star located in the constellation of Orion, and the sixth brightest star in our galaxy in total.

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