The Seagull Nebula

A broad expanse of glowing gas and dust presents a bird-like visage to astronomers from planet Earth, suggesting its popular moniker: the Seagull Nebula. This portrait of the cosmic bird covers a 1.6-degree wide swath across the plane of the Milky Way, near the direction of Sirius, the alpha star of the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major). Of course, the region includes objects with other catalog designations: notably NGC 2327, a compact, dusty emission and reflection nebula with an embedded massive star that forms the bird’s head. Dominated by the reddish glow of atomic hydrogen, the complex of gas and dust clouds with bright young stars spans over 100 light-years at an estimated 3,800 light-year distance.

Via NASA

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