Best of AOP - Diffuse Nebulae

IC 405 and IC 410:

The Flaming Star Nebula

IC 405 is the red/blue nebula to the left of center. It is being illuminated by the energetic star AE Aurigae (embedded in the nebula). However AE Aurigae's story is inextricably linked to another star called Mu Columbae. Around 2.7 million years ago these two stars formed and had a close encounter with one another in the Great Orion Nebula. The encounter was so close (another star was certainly involved) that each of them was ejected from the Orion complex never to return again. Currently these stars are 66 degrees away from one another in the sky. Astronomer's discovered these two runaway stars by measuring their apparent (fast) motion and noting that if you work backwards in time- the origin is in the same place at the same time! But AE Auriga is certainly the more glamorous of the two stars since it just happens to be moving through a region of gas that makes it look like a "Flaming Star."

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Last Updated: 06-Jun-2014

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About This Image

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76mm Televue (480mm f/6.3 refractor)

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = 120 (Hα) + RGB (synthetic) binned 1x1

Red = 25 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 25 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 25 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF