Fire and ice

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

IC 444 is a reflection nebula in the constellation Gemini the Twins. // Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Astronomy columnist Adam Block, who works at the University of Arizona’s Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, has sent in another guest blog. After the great reaction we saw from his first post, we’re proud to continue the series.

Few things are more informative or compelling than contrast. The ability to see the predator about to eat you, the signage on the roadway, or the darkening clouds on the horizon may very well be key to your survival. It is no wonder then that when we find contrasting forms and colors in nature, we pause and admire them. The field of reflection nebula IC 444, a little-studied region, gives us the contrast we crave.

Like fire and ice, here we have something sculpted and something tenuous — with the warm and cool colors of better-known objects such as the Trifid Nebula (M20). The blue veil sparkles due to scattered light from dust, and clouds of hydrogen glow red from the radiation of newly formed stars.

Adam contributes to Astronomy magazine in his column “Cosmic Imaging.”  Not all nebulae and galaxies have full-color high-resolution images. Be one of the first people in the world to see Adam’s by following his Facebook page and his website.

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