IN THE HEART OF THE ROSE
Image Credit: Don Goldman: CLICK photo for larger view and look below for information and links.
NASA’s Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD) for March 11, 2014 is simply spectacular. At the heart of the great Rosette Nebula lies the brilliant open star cluster NGC 2244. This cluster illuminates the surrounding gas and dust, the very same gas and dust that created the stars in the cluster just a handful of millions of years ago. Now fusing under their own power they slowly push away their cocoon so they can get a look at the cosmos for themselves as well as send their light out into the universe; a sort of, calling card to alert the neighborhood of their existence.
This photo stretches about 50 light years in diameter and the Rosette Nebula itself resides about 4500 light years distant in the constellation Monoceros (the unicorn), in the Orion neighborhood. Break out a pair of binoculars and have a look for yourself, see if you can spot these young stars saying hello to the universe.
NAME: Rosette Nebula, Caldwell 49, NGC 2244 (open star cluster), NGC 2246, NGC 2239, NGC 2238, NGC 2237.
WHAT IS IT?: Molecular cloud, Open star cluster, diffuse nebula, emission nebula.
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 4500 light years roughly.
HOW BIG IS IT?: Approximately 70 light years though this photo spans about 50 light years.
APPARENT MAGNITUDE?: A binocular view at 9 or +9.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Monoceros the Unicorn next to Orion.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 06h 33m 45s / DEC +04° 59′ 54″.
Don Goldman photography: http://www.astrodonimaging.com/
NASA APOD page for this photo: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html