Image Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF)

In space, star forming regions are rather common, and they are almost always beautiful to look at. This clearly abides by that trend. Called Sharpless 157 (or SH2-157), according to some sources, it can be found between 8,000 and 17,000 light-years light-years from Earth toward the Cepheus constellation.

Because of the manner in which it appears from afar (apparent in some images more than others), the nebula has earned the nickname of the Lobster Claw Nebula. Pretty much everything you see in this field of view contributes to the illusion of a lobster's claw (of course, whether you see it is a matter of perception).

Some regions of interest include WR 157—an extremely massive and unstable star belonging to the Wolf-Rayet family.  (An open cluster of stars, called NGC 7510, lurks nearby). Many other stars are taking shape within this stellar nursery.. So many, and astronomers estimate that the cloud itself harbors enough material to forge 700 Sun-like stars. Learn more about the image courtesy of the NOAO:

See a larger image here.


Share This Article