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 were
formed and had a close encounter with one another in the
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 appearent (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."
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.|
Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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