NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 3 January 2023: Kemble's Cascade of Stars adorns the sky
NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mesmerizing picture of an Asterism known as Kemble's Cascade of Stars.
Stars are celestial objects millions of years old floating in space. The older and bigger the star, the brighter it appears. Stars are the most widely recognized astronomical objects, and represent the most fundamental building blocks of galaxies. They are formed in star-forming regions called Nebulas. The makeup of a Nebula consists of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium. Although these gases are spread out, they can be pulled together by gravity. As they clump together, their gravity increases by such an amount that the gas cloud collapses, causing the material at the center of the core to heat up, and this is the birth of a star, according to NASA.
Grouped stars sometimes form patterns in the sky recognized by humans known as Constellations. As of now, there are nearly 88 recognized constellations in the sky. Apart from constellations, stars also form familiar patterns in the sky which are not part of any constellations. These patterns are known as Asterisms.
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a stunning capture of the Kemble's Cascade of Stars which is a known Asterism visible in the northern sky toward the long-necked constellation of the Giraffe. It consists of 20 stars and spans over five times the angular width of the full moon. The image was captured by Tommy Lease, an astrophotographer based in Colorado, USA. He uses instruments such as ASI1600MM w/ ZWO EAF, EFW with additional filters and lenses to capture mesmerizing pictures of celestial objects.
NASA's explanation of the image
This line of stars is real. A little too faint to see with the unaided eye, Kemble's Cascade of stars inspires awe when seen with binoculars. Like the Big Dipper though, Kemble's Cascade is an asterism, not a constellation. The asterism is visible in the northern sky toward the long-necked constellation of the Giraffe (Camelopardalis). This string of about 20 unrelated stars, each of similar brightness, spans over five times the angular width of the full moon. Stretching diagonally from the upper left to the lower right, Kemble's Cascade was popularized last century by astronomy enthusiast Lucian Kemble. The bright object near the top left of the image is the relatively compact Jolly Roger open cluster of stars, officially designated as NGC 1502.
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