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Central IC 1805 

Cosmic clouds seem to form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. Of course, the clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula’s newborn star cluster (aka Melotte 15). About 1.5 million years young, the cluster stars appear in this colorful skyscape, along with dark dust clouds silhouetted against glowing atomic gas. A composite of narrow band telescopic images, the view spans about 15 light-years and shows emission from hydrogen in green, sulfur in red, and oxygen in blue hues. Wider field images reveal that IC 1805’s simpler, overall outline suggests its popular name - The Heart Nebula. IC 1805 is located about 7,500 light years away toward the constellation Cassiopeia.

Credit & Copyright: Ken Crawford (Rancho Del Sol Observatory)

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Comet SWAN

Comet SWAN has brightened enough to be visible with binoculars. The picturesque comet is already becoming a favored target for northern sky imagers.  Comet SWAN showed a bright blue-green coma and an impressive tail. Comet C/2006 M4 (SWAN) was discovered in June(2006) in public images from the Solar Wind Anisotropies (SWAN) instrument of NASA and ESA’s Sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft. Comet SWAN, near magnitude six, will be visible with binoculars in the northeastern sky not far from the Big Dipper over the next few days before dawn. The comet is expected to reach its peak brightness this week. Passing its closest to the Sun two days ago, Comet SWAN and will be at its closest to the Earth toward the end of this month. Comet SWAN’s unusual orbit appears to be hyperbolic, meaning that it will likely go off into interstellar space, never to return.

Credit & Copyright: Michael Jäger & Gerald Rhemann

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