NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 6 February 2023: Heart of the Rosette Nebula

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is an amazing image revealing the heart of the Rosette Nebula.

| Updated on: Feb 06 2023, 19:11 IST
Top astronomy photos of the week by NASA: Galaxy wars, Nebula, Moon to Sun, check them out
Rosette Nebula
1/7 On January 14, NASA released an image of Perihelion Sun 2023, the image was taken after January 4, at the Earth's closest approach to the Sun. It was taken less than 24 hours after the earth's close approach. (Peter Ward (Barden Ridge Observatory))
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2/7 On January 15, another photograph was released of The Crab Nebula snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. ( NASA, ESA, Hubble, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU))
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3/7 On January 16, NASA released an image of Moon Enhanced. The featured image is a composite of multiple images enhanced to bring up real surface features. The dark areas in the image, called maria, have fewer craters and were once seas of molten lava. Additionally, the image colours, although based on the moon's real composition, are changed, and exaggerated. (Darya Kawa Mirza)
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4/7 On January 17, the image of unexpected clouds toward the Andromeda Galaxy was released. (Yann Sainty & Marcel Drechsler)
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5/7 Image of MACS0647: Gravitational Lensing of the Early Universe Captured by James Webb Space Telescope was released by NASA on January 18. ( NASA, ESA, CSA, Dan Coe (STScI), Rebecca Larson (UT), Yu-Yang Hsiao (JHU); Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI); Text: Michael Rutkowski (Minn. St. U. Mankato))
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6/7 On January 19, the image of The Seagull Nebula was released. The complex of gas and dust clouds with other stars of the Canis Majoris OB1 association spans over 200 light-years. (Carlos Taylor)
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7/7 Galaxy Wars: M81 and M82, this image was released on January 20. On the right, with grand spiral arms and bright yellow core is spiral galaxy M81.  (Andreas Aufschnaiter)
Rosette Nebula
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Scientists have uncovered amazing information about the Rosette Nebula. (Image Credit & Copyright: Lyman Insley)

A breathtaking image of a nebula, which is around 5200 light-years away from Earth has been featured as the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. While explaining the image, NASA says in the heart of the Rosette Nebula, there lies a bright cluster of stars that light up the nebula. NGC 2244's stars only formed a few million years ago from the surrounding gas. The center of the Rosette Nebula, visible through binoculars in the Monoceros constellation, measures about 50 light-years in diameter.

NASA further mentioned that the featured image was captured in mid-January using multiple exposures and specific colours. Sulfur is shown in red, Hydrogen in green, and Oxygen in blue, providing a highly detailed view of the central region. A hot wind of particles from the cluster stars contributes to the intricate mix of gas and dust filaments, while also gradually clearing the cluster center.

How do scientists name Nebulae

Scientists have uncovered amazing information about the Rosette Nebula since the 1880s. Currently, they categorize different parts of the cloud of gas and dust as NGC 2237, NGC 2238, NGC 2239, NGC 2244, and NGC 2246, and have started mapping the nebula. The term "NGC" is short for "New General Catalog", an updated version of the nebulae catalog created by Danish astronomer Johan Ludvig Emil Dreyer, said.

How do nebulae forms

According to the report, scientists now think that nebulae form due to either the death of a star or the birth of stars. The gas and dust within a nebula typically contains Hydrogen and Helium. Sometimes, this material spreads throughout space as a result of a supernova, which is the explosive death of an old star.

While in some other scenarios, NASA suggests that space dust aggregates in "star nurseries". When dense clumps of gas and dust collapse, they heat up and may give rise to new stars. The central clear area of the Rosette Nebula is believed by many scientists to contain recently formed stars, while the red areas of the nebula are likely sites of star formation.

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First Published Date: 06 Feb, 19:10 IST