Picture of the Day: Nursery of 3,000 Stars

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NASA

Today's picture is a marvel not only of astronomy, but of digital imagery. Stitched together from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and La Silia, the European Southern Obervatory's terrestrial telescope in Chile, the full mosaic is made up of a billion pixels.

Astronomically, the image captures the Orion Nebula. The Nebula's the closest star-forming cluster to Earth -- a mere 1,500 lightyears away. It seems particularly vibrant because some of the dust involved in star birth has been scattered. At full resolution, about 3,000 stars are visible.

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Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

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