2018-10-04 / Image Details (Click on image to enlarge)
The beautiful Cocoon Nebula (IC 5146) is nearly 15 light-years wide, located some 4,000 light years away toward the northern constellation Cygnus. Inside the Cocoon Nebula is a newly developing cluster of stars. Like other star forming regions, the nebula stands out in red, glowing, hydrogen gas excited by young, hot stars and blue, dust-reflected starlight at the edge of an otherwise invisible molecular cloud. The bright star near the center of this nebula is likely only a few hundred thousand years old, powering the nebular glow as it clears out a cavity in the molecular cloud's star forming dust and gas.