Nebulosities Around φ Aurigae
Messier Designation: M 36, M 38
New General Catalogue NGC 1893, Index Catalogue IC405, etc...

Constellation: Auriga - The Charioteer

Plenty of stuff here, isn't it?

In the upper left part of the picture you see the two open star clusters M36 (left) and M38 (top), two quite dissimilar, though beautiful showcases of the winter section of Messier's series of comet-like objects. At the center we find the gas nebula IC417 around phi Aurigae, which is part of a greater gas cloud spanning from the upper left of the picture (LBN794, right from M38) to Sharpless-229 at the mid right and NGC 1893 in the lower part of the picture.

One of the most fascinating objects in this picture, but entirely unspectacular to view is the star AE Aurigae, the brightest star in Sharpless-229. This extremely massive, variable star moves through the interstellar gas at unusually high relative motion. It got probably expelled from the star association at the center of the Orion Nebula some 3 million years ago during a close encounter with other stars.

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