How did this nebula get created? The Cocoon Nebula [ http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/observers/ic5146.html ], cataloged as IC [ http://www.ngcic.com/ ] 5146, is a strikingly beautiful nebula located about 4,000 light years [ http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question19.html ] away toward the constellation [ http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/extra/constellations.html ] of Cygnus [ http://www.astronomical.org/constellations/cyg.html ]. Inside the Cocoon is a newly developing open cluster [ http://www.seds.org/messier/open.html ] of stars. Like other stellar nurseries [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/stellar_nurseries.html ], the Cocoon Nebula is, at the same time, an emission nebula [ http://physics.carleton.edu/Astro/pages/emission.html ], a reflection nebula [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/reflection_nebulae.html ], and an absorption nebula [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/dark_nebulae.html ]. Speculation based on recent measurements [ http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?bibcode=2002AJ....123..304H ] holds that the massive star in the center of the above image [ http://www.cfht.hawaii.edu/HawaiianStarlight/AIOM/English/CFHT-Coelum-AIOM.html ] opened a hole in an existing molecular cloud [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010923.html ] through which much of the glowing material flows. The same star, which formed about 100,000 years ago, now provides the energy source for much of the emitted and reflected light from this nebula.