Clouds of swirling gas and dust that appear as ‘fighting dragons’, shaped by the recent birth of large stars much bigger and brighter than our Sun. Photo by Michael Sidonio (Australia).
Clouds of Perseus ~ contains over 10,000 solar masses of gas and dust, but the eye is drawn to red NGC 1499. Known as the California Nebula, its characteristic glow of atomic hydrogen gas is fueled by ultraviolet light from luminous blue star Xi Persei. Farther along, intriguing young star cluster IC 348 and neighboring Flying Ghost Nebula. On the outskirts of a giant molecular cloud, another active star forming region, NGC 1333, lies near the edge of the wide field of view.
Explanation: Cosmic dust clouds ripple across this infrared portrait of our Milky Way's satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. In fact, the remarkable composite image from the Herschel Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope show that dust clouds fill this neighboring dwarf galaxy, much like dust along the plane of the Milky Way itself. The dust temperatures tend to trace star forming activity. Spitzer data in blue hues indicate warm dust heated by young stars. Herschel's ins...