A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Cat's Paw

Nebulae, like cosmic clouds, inspire the imagination when it comes to naming them. This firey mass is the Cat's Paw Nebula visible in Scorpius. At 5,500 light years distant, the Cat's Paw is an emission nebula with a red color that originates from an abundance of ionized hydrogen atoms. Alternatively known as the Bear Claw Nebula or NGC 6334, stars nearly ten times the mass of our Sun have been born there in only the past few million years. Pictured at right, the end of the Cat's Paw nebula was imaged from the Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile.

Astronomy Picture of the Day



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