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NGC 6589–90 reflection nebulae in Sagittarius

Date created: 1980-11-10

Tags: galaxy, nebula, dust, AAT, cluster, reflection

Our view towards the centre of the Galaxy is obscured by extensive clouds of interstellar dust in the direction of the constellation of Sagittarius. The large-scale, patchy nature of the obscuration can be seen with the unaided eye as the dark markings of the Milky Way, and on the the related wide field image it is evident on smaller scales from the uneven distribution of background stars across this picture.

Light from bright stars within the dust produces the two blue reflection nebulae (NGC 6589 and 6590), and these stars are members of a loose open cluster of stars, NGC 6595 (Sharpless 37) which is at a distance of about 5,900 light years. A large, almost transparent cloud of hydrogen, mixed with traces of dust, glows with a characteristic magenta hue over most of the field of view. This is catalogued as IC 1283, 1284 and 4700 and is likely at a similar distance to NCC 6595.

Photograph made from plates taken in July 1980.
Top left is NE. Image width is about 29 arc min.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory