GERARD LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GERARD LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
IC 5070 and IC 5076 make up the Pelican Nebula in Cygnus. The Pelican is located about 2,000 light years away and is part of a large molecular cloud made of dust and hydrogen gas that also contains the North America Nebula. These nebulae are part of an enormous hydrogen-II emission region designated as W80 in Cygnus. This rich region of emission and dark nebulae just east of Deneb is an active area of star formation powered by the light from young energetic stars. The complex form of the nebula is created by shock waves from the outflows of newly formed stars and intense ultraviolet radiation. This radiation erodes the molecular cloud, but some parts survive and are visible in the form of the elephant trunks - long columns or pillars of gas and.
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