JUAN CARLOS CASADO (STARRYEARTH.COM) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JUAN CARLOS CASADO (STARRYEARTH.COM) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
North America Nebula (NGC 7000), optical image. This is an emission nebula named for its appearance in visible light. It is 2000 light years from Earth, in the constellation of Cygnus. At lower right is the Pelican Nebula (IC 5067-70). Nebulae are clouds of gas and dust in space, many light years across. They are called emission nebulae when the hydrogen gas is ionised by nearby stars and emits light. Reflection nebulae reflect and scatter light. Nebulae contain the materials to form new stars and planets.
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