Picture of the Day: IC 443, the Colorful Jellyfish Nebula


IC 443, which is also known as the Jellyfish Nebula, is seen here as photographed by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). "IC 443 is the remains of a star that went supernova between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago," NASA explains. "The blast from the supernova sent out shock waves that traveled through space, sweeping up and heating the surrounding gas and dust in the interstellar medium, and creating the supernova remnant seen in this image.

This nebula is especially colorful because of energy differences. The northeastern shell (violet-colored semi-circle) was created by a fast shock wave moving nearly a quarter million miles per hour, while the southern shell (bright cyan) was created, NASA suspects, by a slow-moving shock wave.

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Image: NASA.