These bright rims and flowing shapes suggest to some melting
ice cream on a cosmic scale.
Looking toward the constellation
the colorful (zoomable) skyscape features
the swept back, comet-shaped clouds IC 59 (left) and IC 63.
About 600 light-years distant,
aren't actually melting,
but they are slowly dissipating under the influence of
radiation from hot,luminous star gamma Cass.
Gamma Cass is
physically located only 3 to 4 light-years from the
nebulae, just off the upper right edge of the frame.
In fact, slightly closer to gamma Cass,
IC 63 is dominated by
red H-alpha light emitted as the
ionized hydrogen atoms recombine with electrons.
Farther from the star, IC 59 shows proportionally less H-alpha
emission but more of the characteristic blue tint of dust
reflected star light.
The field of view spans about 1 degree or 10 light-years at the
estimated distance of
gamma Cass and friends.
(Rancho Del Sol Obs.)