This fantastic nebula is Sharpless 239 – also known as Sh2-239 or LBN 821 – a reflection nebula that can be found some 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Perseus. The region is situated in the Taurus molecular cloud and stretches a full 3 light-years across. Overall, the area is home to about 50 solar masses of star-formation material, which will see the birth of at least a dozen sun-like stars.
Also located within the interstellar medium, you can see several of these proto-stars forming, with the primary binary star system [ L1551 IRS 5] responsible for the nebula’s appearance (especially the appearance seen near the center). These newborn stars are located merely 40 AU’s from one another (1 AU is the distance separating the Sun and Earth) with both being heavy emitters of ionized hydrogen molecules. This ionization gives the region its brilliant glow.