ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Reflection nebula (NGC 1999), composite image. This nebula is a large cloud of dust and gas lying around 1500 light years from Earth in the constellation Orion. It does not emit light of its own, but reflects light from the nearby V380 star. It appears blue because short-wavelength blue light is scattered more than red by the dust particles. Visible as a dark T-shaped cavity within the nebula is an object designated Parsamian 34. Originally thought to be a Bok globule (a dense cloud of gas and dust thought to be collapsing into star formation), its nature is now unclear. The reddish regions are due to areas of emission nebulosity, where the radiation of hot young stars ionises hydrogen gas and causes it to glow. Image data from 8.2 Meter Subaru Telescope.
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