NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

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The Blue Horsehead Nebula in Infrared
Image Credit: WISE,IRSA,NASA; Processing & Copyright :Francesco Antonucci

Explanation: The Blue Horsehead Nebula looks quite different in infrared light.In visible light, the reflectingdust of the nebulaappears blue and shaped like a horse's head.In infrared light, however, a complex labyrinth of filaments, caverns, and cocoons of glowing dust and gas emerges, making it hard to evenidentify the equine icon.The featured image of the nebula was created in three infrared colors (R=22, G=12, B=4.6 microns)from data taken by NASA's orbitingWide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft.The nebula is cataloged asIC 4592and spans about 40 light years, lying about 400 light years away toward the constellationScorpiusalong the plane of ourMilky Way Galaxy.IC 4592is fainter but covers an angularly greater region than the better knownHorsehead Nebula ofOrion.The star that predominantly illuminates and heats the dust isNu Scorpii, visible as the reddened star left of center.

Courtesy of NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)
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