J-P METSAVAINIO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY J-P METSAVAINIO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
California nebula (NGC 1499). This is an emission nebula, a huge cloud of gas and dust that glows as the hydrogen it contains is ionised by radiation from the hot young stars that have formed within it. The California nebula lies around 1000 light years from Earth in the constellation Perseus. Different colours represent different ionised gases; sulphur is red, hydrogen is green and oxygen is blue.
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