Image Credit: Alessandro Falesiedi

This colorful, sharp image, taken by Alessandro Falesiedi, shows a distant stellar nursery located more than 3,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cepheus, on the outskirts of one of the largest molecular clouds in our galaxy. A star cluster, called Berkeley 59, lurks nearby.

The nebula, formally known as NGC 7822, contains hundreds of newborn stars that are leaving their own mark on the interstellar material surrounding them, seeding it with heavy elements that will ultimately collapse to give life to a new generation of stars. These same stars are also slowly chipping away at some of the material, they in turn, give it its distinct shape and its designation as an emission nebula.

One of the more prominent stars found here is a member of the Berkeley 59 cluster, called BD+66 1673; it also happens to be one of the hottest stars located close to the Sun, coming in with a surface temperature reaching 45,000 K. Additionally, it's luminosity is much greater, around ~100,000 times that of the Sun.

You can see a larger image here.


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