NGC 1333, stellar nursery in Perseus

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  • NGC 1333

Full size image (2053 x 1356 pixels)

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NGC 1333 is a reflection nebula visible in the constellation Perseus and located at a distance of about 766 light-years from Earth. It is the most active star-forming region in the Perseus molecular cloud. The term NGC 1333 is also used to denote the young stellar cluster that illuminates this region of gas and dust; the approximately 150 stars that compose it present low to intermediate masses and their median age is of about 1 million years. Most of these stars are obscured by the dark dusty cloud from which they formed, known as Barnard 205.


UPDATE 2015/11/05: Today NASA has awarded this picture with its APOD (Astronomical Picture Of the Day) category, a daily recognition with which NASA distinguishes an astronomical image among all the instances it receives from all around the world (also competing are professional observatories worldwide or Hubble itself). You can visit the page with this image's recognition as APOD following this link.

Star HIP 16243 is responsible for the intense brightness of the right portion of the field, also notable for the abundance of radio and infrared sources and presence of masers, material outflows and Herbig-Haro objects (small patches of nebulosity formed in the collision of gas ejected by young stars with their surrounding material). In fact, the complexity of the energetic sources and outflows in the field makes the study of their relations difficult.

To obtain this image, the AAE has captured 303 photographs during the 2011 to 2014 winters using the luminance, red, green and blue filters, adding up to a total exposition of almost 34 hours. These images were then stacked using specific software and processed to reveal the subtleties of its interrelations.

The image was obtained by the 20 inches aperture "Telescopi de Cala d'Hort" (TCH), in Ibiza island, Spain. Processing author is Alberto Prats Rodríguez, member of the Agrupació Astronòmica d'Eivissa/Ibiza.

Technical data:

Blue: 26 frames, 400s exposition.

Green: 17 frames, 400s exposition.

Red: 31 frames, 400s exposition.

Luminance: 229 frames, 400s exposition.

Total exposition: 33 hours 40 minutes.

The next video explains some additional information about the field.