Astronomy Picture of the Day

A Pelican in the Swan

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#96652 by @ 01.12.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
A Pelican in the Swan


The Pelican Nebula lies about 2,000 light-years
away in the high flying constellation
Cygnus, the Swan.

Also known as IC 5070,
this cosmic pelican is appropriately found
just off the "east coast" of
the North America Nebula
(NGC 7000), another surprisingly familiar looking
emission nebula in Cygnus.

The Pelican
and North America
nebulae are part of the
same large and
star forming region, almost as nearby as the
better-known Orion Nebula.

From our vantage point,
dark dust clouds (upper left) help define
the Pelican's eye and long bill, while a
bright front of ionized gas
suggests the curved shape of the head and neck.

Based on digitized black and white images from the
Telescope at Palomar Observatory,
this striking
color view includes two bright foreground
stars and spans about 30 light-years at the estimated distance
of the Pelican Nebula.

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