Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: The Star Pillars of Sharpless 171

Title: 
The Star Pillars of Sharpless 171
Explanation: 
Towering pillars of cold gas and dark dust adorn the center star forming region of Sharpless 171. An open cluster [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/open_clusters.html ] of stars is forming there from the gas in cold molecular clouds [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap041219.html ]. As energetic light [ http://imagers.gsfc.nasa.gov/ems/uv.html ] emitted by young massive stars boils away the opaque dust [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap030706.html ], the region fragments and picturesque pillars [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap050424.html ] of the remnant gas and dust form and slowly evaporate. The energetic light also illuminates the surrounding hydrogen gas [ http://periodic.lanl.gov/elements/1.html ], energize it to glow as a red emission nebula [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/emission_nebulae.html ]. Pictured above [ http://astrosurf.com/nico.outters/astro/ced214_HaHaRGB-tec140.htm ] is the active central region of the Sharpless 171 [ http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?bibcode=1992ApJ...386..618Y ] greater emission nebula. Sharpless 171 [ http://www.astro.univie.ac.at/~exgalak/koprolin/Photo/Neb/NGC7822_APO.html ] incorporates NGC 7822 [ http://www.astropix.com/HTML/E_SUM_N/NGC7822.HTM ] and the active region Cederblad 214 [ http://www.astro.univie.ac.at/~exgalak/koprolin/Photo/Neb/NGC7822_APO.html ], much of which is imaged above [ http://astrosurf.com/nico.outters/astro/ced214_HaHaRGB-tec140.htm ]. The area above spans about 20 light years [ http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/cosmic_distance.html ], lies about 3,000 light years away, and can be seen with a telescope toward the northern constellation [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellations ] of the King of Ethiopia (Cepheus [ http://www.astronomical.org/portal/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=20 ]).
Credit and Copyright: 
Nicolas Outters [ http://astrosurf.com/nico.outters/astro/observatoire-astrosurf.htm ] (Observatoire d'Orange [ http://astrosurf.com/nico.outters/astro/observatoire.htm ])
facet_where: 
Ethiopia
facet_what: 
Cepheus
original url: 
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap050927.html
UID: 
SPD-APOD-ap050927