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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

South of the large star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, lies bright blue reflection nebula NGC 1999. At the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant, NGC 1999's illumination is provided by the embedded variable star V380 Orionis. The nebula is marked with a dark sideways T-shape at center right in this telescopic vista that spans about two full moons on the sky. Its dark shape was once assumed to be an obscuring dust cloud seen in silhouette. But infrared data suggest the shape is likely a hole blown through the nebula itself by energetic young stars. In fact, this region abounds with energetic young stars producing jets and outflows with luminous shock waves. Cataloged as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, named for astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro, the shocks have intense reddish hues. HH1 and HH2 are just below and right of NGC 1999. HH222, also known as the Waterfall nebula, looks like a red gash near top right in the frame. To create the shocks stellar jets push through the surrounding material at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second.

Photo by Vikas Chander

Gravlax is a Scandinavian specialty. It's very similar to lox, the deli counter favorite, but gravlax is usually cured with spices and fresh herbs (unlike lox, which is left plain). Gravlax is also never smoked. The process doesn’t take long (15-minute prep, 2-day cure in the fridge) and it is great for a fancy brunch or dinner party. CClick to read Sheryl Julian's recipe

"The devastating consequences of the world’s addiction to palm oil are well-documented. Check your cabinets and you will probably find it in half of the consumable products you own: pizza, margarine, peanut butter, detergent, candles, soaps and lotions, though it’s often disguised benignly as “vegetable oil” on the ingredients list. Between 1995 and 2015, palm oil production quadrupled, and is projected to quadruple yet again by 2050." Read more

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