Saturday, June 9, 2007

IC 4603: Reflection Nebula in Ophiuchius


Credit & Copyright: Takayuki Yoshida
Explanation: Why does this starfield photograph resemble an impressionistic painting? The effect is created not by digital trickery but by large amounts of interstellar dust. Dust, minute globs rich in carbon and similar in size to cigarette smoke, frequently starts in the outer atmospheres of large, cool, young stars. The dust is dispersed as the star dies and grows as things stick to it in the interstellar medium. Dense dust clouds are opaque to visible light and can completely hide background stars. For less dense clouds, the capacity of dust to preferentially reflect blue starlight becomes important, effectively blooming the stars blue light out and marking the surrounding dust. Nebular gas emissions, typically brightest in red light, can combine to form areas seemingly created on an artist's canvas. Photographed above is roughly four square degrees of the nebula IC 4603 near the bright star Antares toward the constellation of Ophiuchus.

7 comments:

The Merry Widow said...

G*D is quite the artist! Lovely!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

tmw

Gayle said...

He absolutely is the unsurpassed artist. Beautiful picture, Eyes. Have a great Sunday!

nanc said...

sorry to be o.t. - TEXTBOOK!

Brooke said...

Wowza! It sure is lovely!

Farmer John said...

I can barely make out a face with a beard in the "reflection" with the center star at the tip of his nose...

Looks like G_d out of Michelangelo's "Cistine Chapel" fresco.

cube said...

Dust has never been lovelier.

Gayle said...

You haven't posted in quite some time, Eyes. I hope that everything is okay with you and yours.