NGC 1333 is a beautiful combination of a reflection nebula, emission nebula, and dark nebula. This star-forming region, located in the constellation Perseus, harbors hundreds of newly formed stars. The stars have formed from the gravitational collapse of a vast molecular cloud. The pervasive dust in the center of NGC 1333 is so dense that it obscures visible light emitted by many of the young protostars within the nebula. The thick dust forms a dark nebula. The dense dust cloud surrounding and hiding the protostars also preferentially scatters blue light emitted by the central bright massive star that has already emerged from the dust cloud, and this scattered blue light is what produces the characteristic blue color of a reflection nebula. Adding to the beauty of this reflection nebula are regions of red-glowing gas energized by ultraviolet radiation from jets and strong stellar winds from nascent stars forming within the nebula. This red-glowing gas forms an emission nebula. Many of the stars in NGC 1333 are less than one million years old, which is young by stellar standards.
Click on the above image to see a full-size version of the image. NGC 1333 is located about 8-1/2 degrees southwest from the California Nebula.
This is an LRGB color composite CCD image taken with an SBIG STL-11000M CCD and a RCOS 24-inch telescope. The image was taken at the University of Arizona Mount Lemmon SkyCenter.
RA: 03h 29m 18s Dec: +31d 25' 00" (J2000)
November 17, 2009
Image by Adam Block and Sid Leach
Mount Lemmon, Arizona
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