Here’s lookin’ at you

Today’s APOD is one of the most gorgeous reflection nebulae I’ve ever seen. NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula, around 1300 light years away in the constellation of Cepheus. That central blue star is most likely newly formed, still swaddled in those dark dusty molecular clouds which are blocking out the background starlight. It’s the light from this central hot star which reflects off those clouds, illuminating the turbulence caused by the star’s powerful stellar wind and causing such a beautiful image.


(click for inflation)

On a more personal note, this particular nebula shows an interesting infrared spectrum. Another prime hunting ground for those ever ambiguous complex molecules.

Image credit: Alvin Jeng of Lightbuckets.com

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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8 Responses to Here’s lookin’ at you

  1. invaderxan says:

    Wow… I knew it had been on there before, but I didn’t realise quite how many times!

  2. invaderxan says:

    Somehow, the more you learn, the more amazing it seems to get.

  3. invaderxan says:

    Oh, absolutely. Just breathtaking.

  4. invaderxan says:

    I guess I never lost the desire to stare at the sky for hours on end…

  5. 6_bleen_7 says:

    Lovely! This nebula is a favorite of APoD’s—see also 26 June 2007, 29 December 2005, 4 November 2004 and 14 December 2001—but this image is by far the best.

  6. That’s really a beautiful image.
    How amazing our universe is. ^_^

  7. helen99 says:

    There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a reflection nebula on a background of stars…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Interesting enough picture, I as early as childhood spared much time on viewing of stars on sky. But when grew, so all made off

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