NGC 1579 resembles the better known
Trifid Nebula, but lies much farther north in planet
Earth's sky, in the heroic constellation
About 2,100 light-years away and 3 light-years across,
NGC 1579 is, like the Trifid,
a study in contrasting blue and red colors, with dark dust lanes
prominent in the nebula's central regions.
In both, dust reflects starlight to produce
beautiful blue reflection nebulae.
But unlike the Trifid,
in NGC 1579
the reddish glow is
not emission from clouds of glowing hydrogen
gas excited by ultraviolet light from a nearby hot star.
Instead, the dust in NGC 1579 drastically diminishes, reddens, and
scatters the light from an embedded,
massive star, itself a strong emitter of the characteristic red
hydrogen alpha light.
Credit & Copyright:
Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter,
University of Arizona