The Cocoon Nebula

The Cocoon Nebula - Click on this image for a larger version of the image

The Cocoon Nebula

The Cocoon Nebula is located in Cygnus. Here, a molecular cloud of gas collapsed to form a new star, and the stellar winds from the infant star in the center of the nebula are in the process of clearing out a cavity in the otherwise invisible molecular cloud of gas. The dark molecular cloud associated with the Cocoon Nebula includes the dark nebula known as Bernard 168. The gas near the star is excited by the ultraviolet radiation from the newborn star, and glows red as an emission nebula. Gas on the edge of the molecular cloud appears as a reflection nebula, which is visible as a result of blue starlight that is preferentially scattered and reflected by intersteller dust. The star at the center of the nebula is only a few hundred thousand years old. In addition to the newborn star that is mainly responsible for illuminating the nebula, an open cluster of stars is also developing inside the Cocoon Nebula.

The Cocoon Nebula is nearly 15 light-years wide. It is located about 4,000 light-years away from us. The nebula is cataloged as IC 5146. It is also designated Caldwell 19.

Click on the above image for a larger version of the image.

This image was taken using the 32-inch Schulman Telescope on the summit of Mount Lemmon at the University of Arizona SkyCenter. I operated the observatory remotely.

IC 5146
Constellation: Cygnus
RA: 21h 53m 24s Dec: +47d 16' 00" (J2000)
July 2, 2016
Image by Sid Leach
Mount Lemmon, Arizona

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