This is the Rosette Nebula, named as such because of its flowery appearance. Located about 5,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Monoceros (the Unicorn), this flower has a diameter of 130 light-years and is estimated to harbor about 10,000 solar masses of material (go ahead and try giving this flower to your special someone).
What this nebula lacks in flowery scents, it makes up for in stellar nurseries. This energetic cloud of gas contains some very hot young stars – stars that are only a couple of millions of years old. The stellar wind emitted by these young stars is what gives the Rosette Nebula its stunning appearance. If you look closely at the center of the nebula, you’ll notice a hole. This gap was generated when the newly-formed stars at the nebula’s core ignited and blew away the surrounding gas.
Even though the Rosette Nebula is easy to identify, it is very hard to spot. It cannot be seen with the naked eye and requires either binoculars or a low magnification telescope for identification purposes. For those of you who are into astrophotography and have the right equipment, this nebula is very photogenic, thus it’s a hot target for professionals and amateurs alike.
Pareidolia — Monsters in Space: