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Reblogged from astronomyandguitars
Explanation: Part of a dark expanse that splits the crowded plane of our Milky Way galaxy, the Aquila Rift arcs through the northern hemisphere’s summer skies near bright star Altair and the Summer Triangle. In silhouette against the Milky Way’s faint starlight, its dusty molecular clouds likely contain raw material to form hundreds of thousands of stars and astronomers eagerly search the clouds for telltale signs of star birth. This telescopic close-up looks toward the region at a fragmented Aquila dark cloud complex identified as LDN 673, stretching across a field of view slightly wider than the full moon. In the scene, visible indications of energetic outflows associated with young stars include the small red tinted nebulosity RNO 109 at top left and Herbig-Haro object HH32 above and right of center. The dark clouds in Aquila are estimated to be some 600 light-years away. At that distance, this field of view spans about 7 light-years.
Reblogged from the-star-stuff
The Dragonfish nebula — named for its resemblance to a terrifyingly toothy deep-sea fish — is, like its namesake, a monster. It’s something like 450 light years across… compare that to the Orion Nebula’s 12-15 light year width and you start to see how huge this thing is. It’s also incredibly massive: it may have a total mass exceeding 100,000 times the Sun’s mass, and may contain millions of stars!
Incredible. Even from other galaxies, it must be one of the most obvious features in the Milky Way. Yet, ironically, it’s very difficult to see at all from Earth. It’s located over 30,000 light years away, on the other side of the galaxy. There’s a vast amount of interstellar material (like dust) between us and it, absorbing its light, so in optical light it’s essentially invisible. But infrared light can pierce that fog, and the image above was taken using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, designed to look in the infrared.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Toronto