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The stars shine and form over Ibiza

NASA chooses White Isle pic

Ibiza is a special place for many of us and also special for seeing stars. A picture taken from Ibiza's Cala d'Hort telescope, has recently been chosen as NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). The distinction is the most coveted by all astronomers the world over and gives an amazing glimpse into the birth of a set of new stars still in the process of becoming fully formed.

The nebula that surrounds the stars is 1000 light years away towards the heroic constellation of Perseus and shows clouds of dust and hydrogen combining to create the photo we see above. It was taken by the Astronomical Association of Ibiza (Agrupació Astronòmica d'Eivissa) using the telescope owned by the island Government.

The recent APOD follows one achieved in 2012 and a recent striking photo taken in September this year showing a supermoon total lunar eclipse and lightening storm. NASA receives thousands of images each day from observatories worldwide, space probes, large telescopes that include the Hubble as well as from professional and amateur astronomers

Alberto Rodriguez Prats who processed the image took 303 pictures of the nebula over several nights, then combined them all to get the image, after 34 hours of total exposure.

The picture shows details of a dusty region with contrasting red emissions, jets and shocked glowing gas coming from recently formed stars. The chaotic environment depicted is possibly, according to NASA, similar to the one in which our own Sun was created 4.5 billion years ago.

Ibiza has been a place for stars for a good while, and now it seems the celestial variety is jockeying for position too. We hope you enjoy this special picture.

WORDS | Julian Heathcote PHOTOGRAPHY | Agrupació Astronòmica d'Eivissa (AAE), Alberto Prats Rodríguez

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