Thursday, December 26, 2013

Astronomy Picture of the Day: 12/26/13 - The Snowflake Cluster

And in yet another holiday-themed image, we come across a quaint little cluster of stars - aptly called the Snowflake Cluster - hanging out in the neighborhood of the famous cone nebula. The pair are located approximately 2,500 light-years from Earth in the Monoceros constellation.

The region is populated by a large number of stars that are currently in the process of forming. When viewed at non-optical wavelengths, the protostars appear as pink or red tiny, patchy dots in the sky -- like snow... very deadly snow. In any event, now you know where it got its name! Too bad that when the protostars arise from their cocoon - during the transition into main-sequence mode - their impact on the region will be seen and felt throughout.


Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, P. S. Teixeira (CfA)

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