Aqua Burst: Skywatcher Photo Reveals Nebula's Blue Glow

NGC 1333 Skywatching
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. (Image 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.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.