Image Credit: Matthew T. Russell

This is the Pelican Nebula (also known as IC5070 or IC5067), it is located in the constellation Cygnus and can be found 1,800 light years away from Earth. This nebula obviously gets its name from its resemblance to a pelican – though I have yet to find a picture that shows this with clarity.

In any event: Given the fact that this area is an extremely active star-forming region, the Pelican Nebula is the focus of intense study, giving us particular insight into how stars form and evolve early on. As the young stars born here ignite, they ionize the nebula and generate the defining glow, yet slowly and over time, the nebula will dissipate and the next generation of stars will be all that remain.

See a larger image here.

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