Friday, January 11, 2008

Polaris Dust Nebula

Click on image to enlargeImage Credit & Copyright: Steve Mandel (Hidden Valley Observatory)
Research Collaboration: Adolf Witt (University of Toledo) et al.

Explanation: Centered on North Star Polaris, this 4 degree wide field of view covers part of a complex of relatively unfamiliar, diffuse dust clouds soaring high above the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. The combined light of the Milky Way stars are reflected by the dusty, galactic cirrus, the reflected starlight having the same blue tint characteristic of better known reflection nebulae. But this deep color image also records a faint reddish luminescence from the dust grains as they convert invisible stellar ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Dubbed extended red emission, the dim cosmic glow is thought to be caused by complex organic molecules known as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), common constituents interstellar dust. On planet Earth, PAHs are widely encountered as the sooty products of combustion.


Tommy said...

A dust nebula? Hey, I could snort that shit! What a rush!

CyberKitten said...

Stardust... Can you pop over to my place and ID an astronomical object for me?

I've been asked what exactly it is... and I have no idea [grin].

CyberKitten said...

Thanks for your expert knowledge guys.