Distant clouds of gas and dust form the likeness of a rose in this beautiful image of aptly named Rosette Nebula captured by a skilled amateur astronomer.
Astrophotographer Brian Davis took the photo from a driveway in the suburbs of Sumter, S.C., over 4.5 hours on Jan. 28, 2012 using a QSI 583wsg camera, Stellarvue SVR105 4" APO Refractor telescope, mounted on a Celestron CGE. Davis sent the striking image in to SPACE.com on Oct. 8.
The famous nebula, also known as Caldwell 49 or NGC 2237, is located roughly 5,000 light years away at the edge of the molecular cloud Monoceros, or the Unicorn constellation. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). The unique nebula's rose-like shape is formed by radiation from hot, young stars residing in a stellar nursery within the central cluster.
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