Setting the Sky Ablaze

flaming star nebula

The hot, bright star AE Aurigae sets surrounding clouds of gas and dust ablaze. The red regions are clouds of hydrogen gas that glow like fluorescent lights when they're bombarded by ultraviolet energy from the star. The blue regions are clouds of dust that reflect the star's visible light. The glowing complex is known as the Flaming Star Nebula. It's about 1,500 light-years away in Auriga the charioteer, and spans about five light-years. AE Aurigae is to the upper right of center, embedded in the nebula. A small star cluster is at upper left. [Davide De Martin & the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator]

Find out more in our radio program entitled Flaming Nebula.

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