Image Credit: Terry Hancock (Source)

This is the Soul Nebula (also known as IC 1848). It can be found approximately 7,500 light-years from the blue dot we call home, in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The nebula is also home to several small open clusters. Several smaller emission nebulae have been conceived near the far edges of the interstellar nursery (the only one you can see in this image is found near the top-left corner).

Above all, IC 1848 is a star-forming region. As the stars form, they help shape the surrounding landscape by carving out deep cavities within the material. The stars also "ignite" the gas and cause it to become ionized, giving this object its stunning appearance.

See a larger image here.

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