• M57 – The Ring Nebula M57 – The Ring Nebula

    M57 or the Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula in the constellation Lyra.  Like all planetary nebula, M57 was formed when a shell of ionized gas was expelled into the surrounding interstellar medium by a red giant star which had reached the last stage in its evolution before becoming a white dwarf.

  • M92 – Globular Cluster M92 – Globular Cluster

    M92 (also known as NGC 6341) is a globular cluster of stars in the constellation Hercules.  It was discovered by Johann Bode in 1777, but was independently rediscovered by Charles Messier on March 18, 1781 and added as the 92nd entry in his catalogue.  M92 is about 26,700 light-years from earth and is one of the brighter globular clusters visible to amateur astronomers.

  • NGC 6888 – The Crescent Nebula NGC 6888 – The Crescent Nebula

    The Crescent Nebula (also known as NGC 6888, Caldwell 27, Sharpless 105) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, about 5000 light years away. It is formed by the fast stellar wind from the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136 (HD 192163) colliding with and energizing the slower moving wind ejected by the star when it became a red giant around 400,000 years ago. The result of the collision is a shell and two shock waves, one moving outward and one moving inward. The inward moving shock wave heats the stellar wind to X-ray-emitting temperatures.

  • M16 – The Eagle Nebula M16 – The Eagle Nebula

    The Eagle Nebula (catalogued as Messier 16 or M16, and as NGC 6611) is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745-46. Its name derives from its shape which is resemblant of an eagle. It is the subject of the famous “Pillars of Creation” photograph by the Hubble Space Telescope, which shows pillars of star-forming gas and dust within the nebula.

  • M1 – The Crab Nebula M1 – The Crab Nebula

    The Crab Nebula is estimated to be approximately 6,500 light-years from Earth, with a diameter of 11 light-years. It is expanding at a rate of about 1,500 kilometres per second. M1, the Crab Nebula (NGC 1952) in the constellation of Taurus, is perhaps the most famous supernova remnant in the skies. Its position corresponds to a very bright supernova recorded by Chinese and Arab astronomers in 1054 – at the time it was so bright that it was visible even in daylight for several weeks.

  • M76 – The Little Dumbbell Nebula M76 – The Little Dumbbell Nebula

    The Little Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 76, NGC 650/651, the Barbell Nebula, or the Cork Nebula, is a planetary nebula in the constellation Perseus. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780 and included in Charles Messier’s catalog of comet-like objects as number 76. It was first recognized as a planetary nebula in 1918 by the astronomer Heber Doust Curtis. Distance to M76 is currently estimated as 780 parsecs or 2,500 light years. The total nebula shines at the apparent magnitude of +10.1 with its central star or planetary nebula nucleus (PNN) at +15.9v (16.1B) magnitude. The Little Dumbbell Nebula derives its common name from its resemblance to the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) in Vulpecula. It was originally thought to consist of two separate emission nebulae and was thus given two catalog numbers in the NGC 650 and 651. Some consider this object to be one of the faintest and hardest to see objects in Messier’s list.

  • NGC 7635 – The Bubble Nebula NGC 7635 – The Bubble Nebula

    NGC 7635 (Caldwell 11), the Bubble Nebula, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia located at a distance of approximately 7800 light years. The relatively bright star at about the 11 o’clock position within the prominent bubble is known as BD +60°2522 or SAO 20575 and is the source of the bubble shape. The star is known as a Wolf-Rayet star, which is an O-type star that is nearing supernova stage. These stars blow off significant portions of their mass while in this stage. It has an enormous energy output and a powerful stellar wind which is impacting the molecular cloud surrounding the star. This impact is resulting in the bubble shape clearly seen in this image. The bubble is not centered around the Wolf-Rayet star due to differences in the density of the surrounding gaseous material.

  • Sharpless 290/Abell 31 Sharpless 290/Abell 31

    Sh2-290 is also known as Abell 31 and PK 219 +31. It is a planetary nebula in the Constellation of Cancer that is very large – nearly the size of the better known Helix Nebula. It was discovered in 1955 by George Abell. Parallax measurements from HST put its distance at ~ 2,000 light years. It is very faint and requires very long exposures. Processing here used the CFHT palette which maps Ha to Red, Oiii to Green, and Sii to Blue.

  • The Orion Nebula (M42) and The Running Man (NGC 1977) The Orion Nebula (M42) and The Running Man (NGC 1977)

    The Orion Nebula (M42) is a stellar nursery where new stars are in the process of forming as part of our galaxy. There are two types of nebula shown here. The blue reflection nebula is present in NGC 1977, also called the “Running Man Nebula”, in the top object. The Orion Nebula has rich red areas of the hydrogen alpha emissions. This is a florescence, where radiation is causing clouds of hydrogen gas to glow.

    “Located at a distance of about 1,600 (or perhaps 1,500) light years, the Orion Nebula is the brightest diffuse nebula in the sky, visible to the naked eye, and rewarding in telescopes of every size, from the smallest glasses to the greatest Earth-bound observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope.” – SEDS

  • IC 434 – The Horsehead Nebula IC 434 – The Horsehead Nebula

    A long, thin, moderatly bright nebulous region running north to south near Alnitak (Zeta Orionis), the eastern star of Orion’s Belt. IC 434 is better known than its Index Catalogue number might suggest: it is the bright background nebula against which the famous dark region called the Horsehead Nebula is silhouetted. Nearby are the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) and the reflection nebula NGC 2023.

  • B72 – The Snake Nebula B72 – The Snake Nebula

    It is a concentration of obscuring dust and dark matter in space that is opaque and doesn’t let the stars behind show through it. To the right of the Snake is B68, an extremely dense dark nebula, and below are B69, B70 and B74. These dark nebulae get their name from pioneer astrophotographer Edwin Emerson Barnard, who cataloged many of them photographically, publishing a list in the 1919 paper in the Astrophysical Journal, “On the Dark Markings of the Sky with a Catalogue of 182 such Objects”.

  • IC 1396 – The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula IC 1396 – The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula

    The Elephant’s Trunk nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust in the star cluster IC 1396 and ionized gas region located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth. The piece of the nebula shown here is the dark, dense globule IC 1396A; it is commonly called the Elephant Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible wavelengths, where it is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. The combined action of the light from the massive star ionizing and compressing the rim of the cloud, and the wind from the young stars shifting gas from the center outward lead to very high compression in the Elephant Trunk nebula. This pressure has triggered the current generation of protostars.

  • IC 5070 – The Pelican Nebula IC 5070 – The Pelican Nebula

    The Pelican Nebula (also known as IC5070 and IC5067) is an H II region associated with the North America Nebula in the constellation Cygnus. The nebula resembles a pelican in shape, hence the name. The Pelican Nebula is a large area of emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus (the Swan), close to Deneb, and divided from its brighter, larger neighbor, the North America Nebula, by a molecular cloud filled with dark dust.

  • NGC 2237 – The Rosette Nebula NGC 2237 – The Rosette Nebula

    Although the Rosette nebula is not very bright – it is much too faint to see with the naked eye – it is famous mainly because it is a striking circular shape resembling a flower. The Rosette nebula is in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy and has a young star cluster at the center of it.

  • NGC 2174 – The Monkey Nebula NGC 2174 – The Monkey Nebula

    NGC 2174 is a large bright patch of emission and reflection nebulosity in Orion. Measuring some 40 x 30 arc minutes surrounding a 7.5 magnitude star, the nebula is associated with the open cluster NGC 2175. It lies very close to the border with Gemini, only two degrees southwest of supernova remnant IC 443, and four degrees due south of open cluster M35.

  • M20 – The Trifid Nebula M20 – The Trifid Nebula

    The Trifid Nebula (catalogued as Messier 20 or M20 and as NGC 6514) is an H II region located in Sagittarius. Its name means ‘divided into three lobes’. The object is an unusual combination of an open cluster of stars, an emission nebula (the lower, red portion), a reflection nebula (the upper, blue portion) and a dark nebula (the apparent ‘gaps’ within the emission nebula that cause the trifid appearance; these are also designated Barnard 85).

  • NGC 7380 – The Wizard Nebula NGC 7380 – The Wizard Nebula

    NGC 7380, known as the Wizard Nebula, this object is a reasonably large nebula located in Cepheus. It is about 7,000 light-years from Earth and within the Milky Way Galaxy. The star cluster is embedded in the nebula, which spans some 110 light-years. The stars of NGC 7380 have emerged from this star-forming region in the last 5 million years or so, making it a relatively young cluster.

  • VdB 152 VdB 152

    Described as a “dusty curtain” or “ghostly apparition”, mysterious reflection nebula vdB 152 really is very faint. It lies about 1400 light-years away, along the northern Milky Way in the royal constellation Cepheus. Near the edge of a large molecular cloud, pockets of cosmic dust in the region block light from background stars or scatter light from the embedded bright star (top) giving parts of the nebula a characteristic blue color. Ultraviolet light from the star is also thought to cause a dim reddish luminescence in the nebular dust. Though stars do form in molecular clouds, this star seems to have only accidentally wandered into the area, as its measured velocity through interstellar space is very different from the cloud’s velocity

  • NGC 7000 – The North American & Pelican Nebulae NGC 7000 – The North American & Pelican Nebulae

    This emission nebula on the left is famous partly because it resembles Earth’s continent of North America. To the right of the North America Nebula, cataloged as NGC 7000, is a less luminous nebula that resembles a pelican dubbed the Pelican Nebula. The two emission nebula measure about 50 light-years across, are located about 1,500 light-years away, and are separated by a dark absorption cloud. This 4 frame mosaic image captures the nebulas bright ionization fronts and fine details of the dark dust. Total imaging time was over 110 hours.

  • NGC 6960 – Portion of the NW Veil Nebula NGC 6960 – Portion of the NW Veil Nebula

    The Veil Nebula is a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus. It constitutes the visible portions of the Cygnus Loop (radio source W78, or Sharpless 103), a large but relatively faint supernova remnant. The source supernova exploded some 5,000 to 8,000 years ago, and the remnants have since expanded to cover an area roughly 3 degrees in diameter (about 6 times the diameter, or 36 times the area, of the full moon). The distance to the nebula is not precisely known, but recent evidence from the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) supports a distance of about 1,470 light-years.

  • IC 410 – The Tadpoles IC 410 – The Tadpoles

    Dusty emission nebula IC 410 lies about 12,000 light-years away in the northern constellation Auriga. The cloud of glowing gas is over 100 light-years across, sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from embedded open star cluster NGC 1893. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere 4 million years ago, bright cluster stars are seen just below the prominent dark dust cloud near picture center. Notable near the 7 o’clock position are two relatively dense streamers of material trailing away from the nebula’s central regions. Potentially sites of ongoing star formation, these cosmic tadpole shapes are about 10 light-years long.

  • IC 1848 – The Soul Nebula IC 1848 – The Soul Nebula

    IC 1848 is the designation of a young star cluster and the emission nebula surrounding it, which are located in eastern Cassiopeia. It is one of the “Double Nebulae”, the other one being IC 1805, so-called because of their proximity to to NGC 884 and NGC 869, the Double Cluster in Perseus. Some amateurs call IC 1848 also the “Soul Nebula”, the corresponding “Heart” being IC 1805. The star cluster is surrounded by hydrogen, which is excited by UV light from the young and hot stars and therefore glows mainly in the red light of the Hα emission line.

  • NGC 281 – The Pacman Nebula NGC 281 – The Pacman Nebula

    NGC 281 is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia and part of the Perseus Spiral Arm. It includes the open cluster IC 1590, the multiple star HD 5005, and several Bok globules. Colloquially, NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the video game character.

  • NGC 7635 – The Bubble Nebula NGC 7635 – The Bubble Nebula

    NGC 7635, also called the Bubble Nebula, Sharpless 162, or Caldwell 11, is a H II region emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. It lies close to the direction of the open cluster Messier 52 which can also be seen in this image. The “bubble” is created by the stellar wind from a massive hot, 8.7 magnitude young central star. The nebula is near a giant molecular cloud which contains the expansion of the bubble nebula while itself being excited by the hot central star, causing it to glow.

  • NGC 7023 – The Iris Nebula NGC 7023 – The Iris Nebula

    The Iris Nebula, also NGC 7023 and Caldwell 4, is a bright reflection nebula and Caldwell object in the constellation Cepheus. NGC 7023 is actually the cluster within the nebula, LBN 487, and the nebula is lit by a magnitude +7 star. It is located near the Mira-type variable star T Cephei, and near the bright magnitude +3.23 variable star Beta Cephei (Alphirk). It lies 1,300 light-years away and is six light-years across.

  • M 27 – The Dumbell Nebula M 27 – The Dumbell Nebula

    The Dumbbell Nebula (also known as Messier 27, M 27, or NGC 6853) is a planetary nebula (PN) in the constellation Vulpecula, at a distance of about 1,360 light years. This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. At its brightness of visual magnitude 7.5 and its diameter of about 8 arcminutes, it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes

  • DWB 111 – The Propeller Nebula DWB 111 – The Propeller Nebula

    DWB-111, the Propeller Nebula, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus. Astronomers seem to have more questions than answers, regarding this nebula. The origin of the peculiar structure is still completely unknown. The nebula’s distance and source of excitation are also undetermined. DWB-111 mass is believed to be quite low, probably less than 50 solar masses. Obscuring dust is closely associated with the nebula, but seems to occur mostly in front of it.

  • NGC 2359 – Thor’s Helmet NGC 2359 – Thor’s Helmet

    NGC 2359 (also known as Thor’s Helmet) is a emission nebula in the constellation Canis Major. The nebula is approximately 15,000 light-years away and 30 light years in size. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. It is similar in nature to the Bubble Nebula, interactions with a nearby large molecular cloud are thought to have contributed to the more complex shape and curved bow-shock structure of Thor’s Helmet.

  • NGC 2264 – The Cone & Foxfur Nebulae NGC 2264 – The Cone & Foxfur Nebulae

    The Cone Nebula is a famous nebula in the Orion Arm surrounding the NGC 2264 star cluster. The ‘cone’ is a triangular dark nebula near the bottom of the nebula. This enigmatic formation of gas and dust lies in the constellation of Monoceros (the Unicorn) not far off the right arm of Orion. The image deliberately highlights how much Oii is also present in this area.

  • IC 5146 – The Cocoon Nebula IC 5146 – The Cocoon Nebula

    IC 5146 (also Caldwell 19, Sh 2-125, and the Cocoon Nebula) is a reflection/emission nebula and Caldwell object in the constellation Cygnus. IC 5146 refers specifically to the star cluster and Sh2-125 to the nebula. It shines at magnitude +10.0[4]/+9.3/+7.2. Its celestial coordinates are RA 21h 53.5m, dec+47° 16′. It is located near the naked-eye star Pi Cygni, the open cluster NGC 7209 in Lacerta, and the bright open cluster M39. The cluster is about 4,000 ly away, and the central star that lights it formed about 100,000 years ago.

  • NGC 6888 – The Crescent Nebula NGC 6888 – The Crescent Nebula

    The Crescent Nebula (also known as NGC 6888, Caldwell 27, Sharpless 105) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, about 5000 light years away. It is formed by the fast stellar wind from the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136 (HD 192163) colliding with and energizing the slower moving wind ejected by the star when it became a red giant around 400,000 years ago. The result of the collision is a shell and two shock waves, one moving outward and one moving inward. The inward moving shock wave heats the stellar wind to X-ray-emitting temperatures.

  • IC 1795 – Emission Nebula in Cassiopeia IC 1795 – Emission Nebula in Cassiopeia

    IC 1795 is located about 7,500 light years away toward the constellation of Cassiopeia. It is a part of the rich and spectacular nebular complex IC 1805 The Heart Nebula.