Kfir Simon page for this image: http://www.pbase.com/tango33/publications
Kfir Simon APOD page for this image: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap121228.html
A few million years ago, a dense cloud of molecular hydrogen collapsed under its own mass and gravity in select areas to birth stars. As these stars came into being; the intense stellar wind (radiation) associated with them immediately began to push back and blow away the cocoon of material that created it. What remained, we today catalog as open star cluster NGC 6193 in the southern constellation Ara, “Altar” and you can see this open star cluster with no optical aid from the southern hemisphere.
The molecular cloud, which still blocks our view of the open cluster is now cataloged as emission nebula NGC6188 and stretches about 70 light years in diameter or about 2 Full Moon widths on our night sky. If you could collect photons with your eyes enough to be able to see it that is.
Don Goldman page for this image: http://astrodonimaging.com/gallery/ngc6164-5-with-halo/
Don Goldman APOD page for this image: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap121027.html
Now let’s zoom in and have a look at that smaller bubble-like formation near the bottom of the image. This object is cataloged as NGC 6164 and although it looks like a planetary nebula, it’s an emission nebula. This four light year diameter nebula is created by a massive O-type star more than 40 times the mass of our Sun. This star is only about 4 million years old and because of its size and fuel consumption, it’s probably half way through its life as we see it. At this size when it goes, it will go out with a bang. A Type II aka, core collapse supernova which will deliver more energy in an instant than our Sun radiates in its 10 billion year lifetime. When this event takes place, a few more heavy elements will have been created to someday accrete into a planet for someone to dig up and generate industry with.
NAME: NGC 6188, NGC 6193, NGC 6164.
WHAT IS IT?: Emission nebula being illuminated by young open star cluster.
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: Roughly 4,200 light years.
HOW BIG IS IT?: Approximately 70 light years and 2 Full Moon widths on the night sky.
APPARENT MAGNITUDE: A naked eye 5.5.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Southern constellation Ara (Altar) at the center of what’s known as the Ara OB1 association.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 16h 41m 20s / DEC −48° 45′ 48″.