Fire in the Sky: Nebula Burns Brightly in Skywatcher Photo
IC405, also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, shines in this skywatching photo.
Credit: Bill Snyder

The Flaming Star Nebula blazes beautifully in the night sky in this skywatching photo.

Astrophotographer Bill Snyder took this spectacular image of IC405, also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, on March 26 from his home observatory in Connellsville Pa. 

IC405, named after its resemblance to burning flames, lies about 1,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Auriga. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). It has two regions, an emission nebula and a reflection nebula. The reflection nebula region reflects the light of the nearby blue-ish star AE Aurigae. The emission region emits lights of many colors from clouds of ionized gas. When seen together, these are called diffuse nebulas.

The flaming star nebula can be seen at magnitude + 6.0. On this scale, smaller numbers represent brighter objects. The dimmest objects visible to the human eye are about magnitude 6.5. It’s little more than one degree away from IC 410 and skywatchers can view the nebula with a small telescope.

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 tmalik@space.com.

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