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The California Nebula NGC 1499

Drifting through the Orion Arm of the spiral Milky Way Galaxy, this cosmic cloud by chance echoes the outline of California on the west coast of the United States. Our own Sun also lies within the Milky Way's Orion Arm, only about 1,500 light-years from the California Nebula. Also known as NGC 1499, the classic emission nebula is around 100 light-years long. It glows with the red light characteristic of hydrogen atoms recombining with long lost electrons, stripped away (ionized) by energetic starlight. In this case, the star most likely providing the energetic starlight is the bright, hot, bluish Xi Persei, just near the nebula and at right of picture center. (Text adapted from Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Full-res file is about 250 Megapixels with a resolution of about 1 arcsec per pixel. It shows an area of sky large 4,1 x 4,7 (for comparison, the full-Moon has a diameter of about 0,5).
The image is available for Museum, Planetariums, exhibitions, publishers and authors in very high-resolution. If interested in using the image, please read my policy or e-mail me with your request.

Copyright: Davide De Martin.

This color image is based on data coming from several photographic plates taken between 1988 and 1993 through the Palomar Observatory's 48-inch (1,2-meter) Samuel Oschin Telescope as a part of the second National Geographic Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS II). The photographs were recorded on two type of glass photographic plates - one sensitive to red light and the other to blue and later they were digitized. Credit: Caltech, Palomar Observatory, Digitized Sky Survey.


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All images presented in this website are copyrighted Davide De Martin (2005-2014) otherwise noted. Reproduction or distribution of these images is not permitted without written consent. See also my policy of the use of images for further details or email me. Comments are welcome.
The astronomical images presented in this site were created with the help of the ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator.