A gaze across a cosmic skyscape, this telescopic mosaic reveals the
beauty of things that are.
The evocative scene spans some 6 degrees or 12 Full Moons in
planet Earth's sky.
At the left, folds of red, glowing gas are
a small part of an immense, 300 light-year wide arc.
Known as Barnard's loop,
the structure is too faint to be seen with the eye,
shaped by long gone supernova explosions and
the winds from massive stars, and
still traced by the light of hydrogen atoms.
Barnard's loop lies about 1,500 light-years away
roughly centered on the Great Orion Nebula,
a stellar nursery along the edge of Orion's molecular clouds.
But beyond lie other fertile star fields in the plane of our
Milky Way Galaxy.
At the right, the long-exposure composite finds
NGC 2170, a dusty complex of nebulae
near a neighboring
molecular cloud some 2,400 light-years distant.