April 18, 2010
Photographer: Fabian Neyer
Summary Author: Fabian Neyer; Jim Foster
The image above features a relatively murky region of the Milky Way known as the Iris Nebula (NGC 7023). It was captured from the Antares Astronomical Society Observatory in Gossau, Switzerland. NGC 7023 is a reflection nebula residing in the constellation Cephus the King, approximately 1,300 light years distant. It’s visible because light from nearby bright stars headed in our direction is reflected or scattered by particles of cosmic dust. These minute particles are tens, and in some cases hundreds, of times smaller than the dust grains that find their way to your computer screen. The Iris’s dominant bluish color is the signature color for the reflection of starlight by dust.
Photo details: Total exposure time of 24 hours with 15 minute sub-exposures; taken during the period from July 26-August 29, 2009.