Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: NGC 7023: The Iris Nebula

NGC 7023: The Iris Nebula
Like delicate cosmic petals, these clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus [ CEPHEUSO.HTM ]. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC [ ] 7023, this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers [ ]. Still, the beautiful digital image [ ] shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a massive, hot, young star in its formative [ stars1.html#lessonplans ] years. Central filaments of cosmic dust glow with a reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert [ bibcode=1989ApJ...347L..25W&db_key=AST&high=3bc4bede8e21358 ] the star's invisible ultraviolet [ ] radiation to visible red light. Yet the dominant color of the nebula is blue, characteristic of dust [ ] grains reflecting starlight. Dark, obscuring clouds of dust and cold molecular gas are also present and can lead the eye to see other convoluted [ ] and fantastic [ ] shapes. Infrared observations [ nph-bib_query?2000A%26A...354L..17M&db_key=AST&nosetcookie=1 ] indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs [ ]. As shown here, the Iris Nebula [ 7023.html ] is about 6 light-years across.
Credit and Copyright: 
Brian Lula [ ]
dark nebula
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
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