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Rosette Nebula (Image Credit: Juan Ignacio Jimenez)

The Rosette Nebula (otherwise known as NGC 2237 or Caldwell 49) is a nebula skirting the edge of a giant molecular cloud within the Monoceros constellation—found around 5,000 light-years from Earth.

Of course, the pareidolia is strong with this one. No matter the equipment or vantage point, Rosette almost always looks like a flower (though, given its composition, it almost certainly doesn’t smell like one)—a rather large one, at that. It spans approximately 130 light-years across, and contains more than 10,000 solar masses of raw material. Since it is still churning out stars, which go on to energize (or “ionize”) the surrounding gas, the overall nebula is classified as an HII region.

This image of the Rosette Nebula, which was processed with a false-color palette, was taken by Juan Ignacio Jimenez. He—along with around a dozen other talented astrophotographers—is up for the “Astronomy Photographer of the Year” award. (See a larger image here)

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