The North America nebula
on the sky can do what the
North America continent
on Earth cannot -- form stars.
Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and
is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the
The above image
shows the star forming wall lit and eroded by
bright young stars, and partly hidden by the dark
dust they have created.
The part of the North America nebula
(NGC 7000) shown spans about 15 light years and lies about 1,500 light years away toward the
of the Swan
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