IC 410, The Tadpoles

Rod Pommier
Location of photo
Pommier Observatory, Portland, OR, USA
Date/Time of photo
Telescope/Mount: Celestron Compustar C14 SCT with AstroPhysics 0.75x focal reducer (f/8). Camera: SBIG STL 11000M with Baader Planetarium HaRGB filters. Exposures: HaRGB=240:60:60:60 minutes = 6 hours total exposure.
IC 410 is an emission nebula in Auriga 12,000 light-years away. The nearby cluster of hot blue type O and B stars, NGC 1893 illuminates the nebula and also emits fierce stellar winds that have sculpted it. What were once two thick, majestic pillars of cold gas, like the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, have been so heavily eroded by the stellar winds that they now resemble tadpoles. The leading globules of the pillars still remain and represent the tadpoles heads. Intense radiation from the stars evaporates cold gas from the surface of the globules, ionizes it, and the stellar winds blow it back against the globules, forming brightly compressed rims. However, the stellar winds have so heavily eroded the pillars to the point where they now resemble wiggling tadpole tails, like celestial windsocks flapping in the stellar breeze.
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