Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2022 August 27
Explanation: Inside the Cocoon Nebula is a newly developing cluster of stars. Cataloged as IC 5146, the beautiful nebula is nearly 15 light-years wide. Soaring high in northern summer night skies, it's located some 4,000 light years away toward the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Like other star forming regions, it stands out in red, glowing, hydrogen gas excited by young, hot stars, and dust-reflected starlight at the edge of an otherwise invisible molecular cloud. In fact, the bright star found near the center of this nebula is likely only a few hundred thousand years old, powering the nebular glow as it clears out a cavity in the molecular cloud's star forming dust and gas. A 29 hour long integration with a small telescope from Ayr, Ontario, Canada resulted in this exceptionally deep color view tracing tantalizing features within and surrounding the dusty stellar nursery.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.