Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2017 February 16
Explanation: Framing a bright emission region, this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula, the reddish glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalogue by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant and 70 light-years across the complex and beautiful nebula blossoms at the centre of this composite image. Ultraviolet radiation from young energetic stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, including O star HDE 227018, ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. HDE 227018 is the bright star near the centre of the nebula. Also framed in the field of view is microquasar Cygnus X-1, one of the strongest X-ray sources in planet Earth's sky. Driven by powerful jets from a black hole accretion disk, its fainter visible curved shock front lies above and right, just beyond the cosmic Tulip's petals
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.