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November 14, 2011 - The Dark Side of Nebulosity

The Dark Side of Nebulosity The Cone Nebula is part of NGC 2264, a rich region of nebulosity 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros. Other parts of NGC 2264 include the Christmas Tree Cluster and the Fox Fur Nebula, but the Cone, rising in the bottom half of this image, is the most easily visible. A towering pillar of dark obscuring dust and glowing gas, the Cone rises seven light-years from its base. Ultraviolet radiation from hot, young, nearby stars heats the edges of the dark cloud, releasing gas into the relatively empty region of surrounding space. There, additional ultraviolet radiation causes the hydrogen gas to glow, which produces the pink halo of light seen around the pillar. Over time, only the densest regions of the Cone will remain, becoming the birthplace of new stars.

Image credit: R. Jay GaBany / www.cosmotography.com

Weekly Calendar

November 14-20, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 14

Mercury at greatest elongation (23° E)

1969: Apollo 12 launched, second lunar landing mission
2008: STS-126 Endeavour launched
2011: Soyuz TMA-22 launched carrying ISS Expedition 29/30 crew

Moon phase Tuesday 15

1738: William Herschel born
1973: First powered flight of X-24B lifting body
1988: Green Bank 300-foot radio telescope collapses
1988: Soviet Shuttle Buran launched

Moon phase Wednesday 16

1962: Saturn SA-3 launched
1973: Skylab 4 crew launched on 84-day mission
1974: Interstellar message broadcast from Arecibo radio telescope
2009: STS-129 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Thursday 17

Leonid meteor shower

1970: Luna 17 lands on Moon; Lunokhod 1 rover becomes first wheeled vehicle on Moon

Moon phase Friday 18

Last Quarter Moon 10:09 AM ET
Leonid meteor shower

1923: Alan Shepard born
1989: Cosmic Background Explorer launched

Moon phase Saturday 19

Mars 8° north of Moon

1969: Apollo 12 makes second lunar landing
1996: STS-80 Columbia launched
1997: STS-87 Columbia launched
2005: Hayabusa spacecraft makes first liftoff from an asteroid

Moon phase Sunday 20

1889: Edwin Hubble born
1998: Zarya module launched, first element of International Space Station
2002: First Delta IV launched
2004: Swift spacecraft launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.