NASAs North American Nebulae Award
This new view of the North American nebula combines both visible and infrared light observations, taken by the Digitized Sky Survey and NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively, into a single vivid picture. The nebula is named after its resemblance to the North American content in visible light, which in this image is represented in blue hues. Infrared light, displayed here in red and green, can penetrate deep into the dust, revealing multitudes of hidden stars and dusty clouds. Only the very densest dust clouds remain opaque, like the dark bands seen in the Gulf of Mexico area. Clusters of young stars (about one million years old) can be found throughout the image. Slightly older but still very young stars (about three to five million years) are also liberally scattered across the complex, with concentrations near the head region of the Pelican nebula, which is located to the right of the North American nebula (upper right, bluish portion of this picture.