Skywatcher J.P. Brahic took this photo in December 2011. Multiple exposures are made to collect enough light for an image that would otherwise not be evident to the eye.
Credit: J.P. Brahic
An aqua burst of light glows from this image of NGC 1333 taken by French skywatcher Jean-Pierre Brahic, in December 2011. The reflection nebula is located in the constellation Perseus.
A reflection nebula is a cloud of dust visible with the help of energy from a nearby star or stars. These nebula are typically blue in color because the carbon dust particles reflect blue light more efficiently than red light.
NGC 1333 is 1,000 light-years away at the edge of a large star-forming cloud. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). The region is known for containing hundreds of young stars in a chaotic environment of dust and gas. The faint reddish glow comes from hydrogen gas from young stars forming within the nebula.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing skywatching photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at email@example.com.