This Gorgeous Starburst Nebula Will Make You Wish You Had a Spaceship

By Maddie Stone on at

Sometimes (often) I think about how great our distant descendants are going to have it; whizzing about the Milky Way in sleek, FTL-enabled spacecraft. Some of those lucky future humans may even get to glimpse wonders like this with their own eyes.

Pictured above is the IC 410 nebula, a brilliant cosmic dust cloud located approximately 10,000 light years from Earth in the direction of the Auriga constellation. A 4 million year-old galactic star cluster—a region of active star formation—lies toward the center of the image, partially obscured by the nebula itself.

Off to the lower right, two dusty entrails resemble tadpoles. The “heads” of these cosmic squiggles have been sculpted by winds and radiation emanating from the central star cluster. It’s a magnificent sight to behold — even on a primitive 21st century computer screen. [NASA APOD]

Image via Steven Coates and reproduced with permission. You can check out more of his work on his website.