Saturn’s Aurora! This real image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, it shows the gas giant Saturn with it’s Aurora. Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It only has one-eighth the average density of Earth; however, with its larger volume, Saturn is over 95 times more massive.
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Heart and Soul nebulae in the constellation Cassiopeia
The Heart Nebula (IC 1805) located on the right of this image, has a shape reminiscent of a classical heart symbol. To the top of the Heart nebula, lies The Fishhead nebula (IC 1795) is a part of a complex of star forming regions that lie at the edge of a large molecular cloud.
The Soul Nebula (IC 1871) is visible on bottom left of this image. Both nebulas shine brightly in the red light of energized hydrogen.
Several young open clusters of stars are visible near the nebula centers. Melotte 15 (Heart of the Heart nebula) is a popular target.
Light takes about 6,000 years to reach us from these nebulas, which together span roughly 300 light years.
Image 1 – Widefield image of The Heart and Soul nebulae
Image 2 – Cropped image rendering Melotte 15 (Heart of the Heart nebula)
Image 3- Cropped image of The Fishhead nebula
Image 4 – Soul nebula
Image 5 – Annotated version
Photos made by Sendhil
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For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the constellation of Cassiopeia is almost as recognisable as the big dipper (Ursa Major), as a W of stars high up in the sky, all year around.
The main stars that make up this W are :-
Caph (Beta Cass) - F2III type (White-Yellow) - 54.7 LYs
Shedir (Alpha Cass) - K0-III type (Orange) - 228 LYs
Gamma Cass - B0-IV (Blue) - 549 LYs
Ruchbah (Delta Cass) - A5IV - White 99 LYs
All of these 4 stars that make up the W have passed their main sequence, and are in the later ages of their life, denoted by the III or IV after the spectral type.
There are of course many interesting stars in Cassiopeia apart from those who make up the W shape.
Achird is just 20 light years from Earth, a near G type star, very similar to our own Sun, however it has a K type (smaller orange) companion, so is in a binary system with it.
Deep Space Objects
Also in Cassiopeia is the Pacman Nebula NGC 281, although you'll require a fairly good telescope to spot it, it sits almost 10,00 light years away and is a body of gas that glows from bombardment of ultra violet light from stars hidden behind the dark nebula part, making up pacman's mouth.
Also IC 1805, the heart nebula sits at 7,500 light years.
The starburst irregular galaxy IC 10 also sits just off the top of the W
This galaxy is one of the closest to the Milky Way and part of the loca group of galaxies we belong to.
Of course, there's plenty of other amazing objects to be found in Cassiopeia and this is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather, meant to whet your appetite for what is a well known constellation, but with not so well known hidden gems.
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