Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: Pelican Nebula Ionization Front

Pelican Nebula Ionization Front
What's happening to the Pelican Nebula [ ]? The light from young energetic stars is slowly transforming the Pelican [ ]'s cold gas to hot gas, with the advancing boundary between the two known as an ionization [ ] front. Most of these bright stars lie off the top of the image, but part of the bright ionization front crosses on the upper right. Particularly dense and intricate filaments [ ] of cold gas are visible along the front. Millions of years from now this nebula might no longer [ ] be known as the Pelican [ ], as the balance and placement of stars and gas will leave something that appears completely different. The above image [ ] was taken with the Mayall 4-meter telescope [ ] at Kitt Peak National Observatory [ ] in Arizona [ ], USA [ ]. The large circular artifact below the image center is not real. The nebula, also known as IC 5070 [ ], spans about 30 light years [ ] and lies about 1800 light years [ ] away toward the constellation [ ] of Cygnus [ ].
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