Fire in the Sky: Nebula Burns Brightly in Skywatcher Photo

flaming star nebula skywatching
IC405, also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, shines in this skywatching photo. (Image 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.

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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.