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 [ http://www.astropix.com/HTML/E_SUM_N/CEPHEUSO.HTM ]. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC [ http://www.seds.org/billa/ngc.html ] 7023, this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010214.html ]. Still, this beautiful digital image [ http://www.tvdavisastropics.com/astroimages-1_00000f.htm ] shows off the Iris [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_(plant) ] Nebula's range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dust [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmZJc68zyAA ]y nebular material surrounds a massive, hot, young star in its formative [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap040315.html ] years. Central filaments of cosmic dust glow with a reddish photoluminescence [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoluminescence ] as some dust grains effectively convert [ http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query? bibcode=1989ApJ...347L..25W&db_key=AST&high=3bc4bede8e21358 ] the star's invisible ultraviolet [ http://imagers.gsfc.nasa.gov/ems/uv.html ] radiation to visible red light. Yet the dominant color of the central nebula is blue, characteristic of dust [ http://leo.astronomy.cz/mix/mix.html ] grains reflecting starlight [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/reflection_nebulae.html ]. Dark, obscuring clouds of dust and cold molecular gas [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap041219.html ] are present on the left of the image, and lead the eye to see other convoluted [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010720.html ] and fantastic [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap031229.html ] shapes. Infrared observations [ http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?2000A%26A...354L..17M&db_key=AST&nosetcookie=1 ] indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs [ http://www.chem.ucl.ac.uk/cosmicdust/pah.htm ]. As shown here, the bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula [ http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/observers/n7023.html ] is about six light-years [ http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question19.html ] across.