Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gorgeous Reflection Nebula NGC 7129 in Cepheus

Gorgeous Reflection Nebula NGC 7129 in Cepheus
Click on the image for full resolution

NGC 7129 is a reflection nebula located 3,300 light years away in the constellation Cepheus. A young open cluster is responsible for illuminating the surrounding nebula. A recent survey indicates the cluster contains more than 130 stars less than 1 million years old. NGC 7129 is located just half a degree from nearby cluster NGC 7142. The nebula is rosebud-shaped; the young stars have blown a large, oddly shaped bubble in the molecular cloud that once surrounded them at their birth. The rosy pink color comes from glowing dust grains on the surface of the bubble being heated by the intense light from the young stars within. The ultra-violet and visible light produced by the young stars is absorbed by the surrounding dust grains. Several Herbig Haro objects are visible in this nebula. Herbig-Haro objects are small emission nebulae found around young developing stars (protostars) and which are believed to be transient in their nature, for they only exist for a few thousand years.
Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon Skycenter/University of Arizona

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