Skywatcher Photo Catches Cosmic 'Tadpoles' in Celestial Pond

tadpoles skywatching
Bill Snyder snapped this image of the tadpoles of nebula IC 410 from his home observatory in Connellsville Pa., on Jan. 15, 2012. The tadpoles in this photo are around 10 light-years long and are potential sites of star formation. (Image credit: Bill Snyder)

From his home observatory in Connellsville, Pa., avid astrophotographer Bill Snyder took this stunning photo of the so-called "tadpoles" of the emission nebula IC410 on Jan. 15. IC410 is located roughly 12,000 light-years away toward the constellation Auriga.

The tadpoles in this image are actually about 10 light-years long and are potential sites of star formation. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

The nebula itself surrounds the young cluster of stars called NGC 1893. This cluster energizes the denser, cooler gas making up the tadpoles. Their unique shape is sculpted by wind and radiation from the cluster stars.

Snyder used a TMB130mm telescope equipped with an Apogee U8300 camera, as well as a mount and several filters to create this view of IC410. He had a total exposure time of more than 14 hours to capture this view of 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.