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SkyCenter's image of NGC 1999 published at NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Website
Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Mount Lemmon SkyCenter's image of NGC 1999 was selected by NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website for February 24th 2011.  This popular website is often the first page loaded in browsers and generates computer "wallpaper" for enthusiasts around the world. Its mission to popularize astronomy parallels the programs at the SkyCenter. Indeed this image came about through participants in our "Astrophotography with Adam Block" and "AstronomerNight" experiences. In addition to the unforgettable memories, these participants also received the high resolution color image shown to the right.  (click on the image to see larger versions)

About the Image and Object:

The tumultuous environs of NGC 1999 show the effects of the frenetic activity of star formation in the area. Outflows from young stars and their radiation shape the region producing unexpected shapes and billowing clouds of hydrogen gas some 1,500 light years away. The small dark "hole" in the center of the nebula continues to be a bit of puzzle as to exactly how it formed. The Hubble Space Telescope image of it below (image courtesty of STScI/HST) shows it in detail. However the SkyCenter image taken through the Schulman Telescope shows not only this feature but also the surrounding clouds of gas and dust.