Colorful and wispy Sharpless 2-296 forms the “wings” of an area of the sky known as the Seagull Nebula — named for its resemblance to a gull in flight.
The Seagull Nebula — made up of dust, hydrogen, helium, and traces of heavier elements — is the hot and energetic birthplace of new stars.
J. Wright (Keele University) This stunning image shows the Seagull Nebula, so named because its shape suggests a bird with wings spreading out across space.
The Seagull is a type of nebula called an emission nebula, meaning it is made of ionized gases which are ionized primarily by light emitted by a nearby star.
This particular nebula is a subtype of emission nebulae called an H II region, which is ionized hydrogen gas where stars have recently formed.
The new stars give off radiation which ionizes the dust and makes it glow, giving the nebula its beautiful colors.
The nebula is constructed of three primary clouds of gas, including Sharpless 2-296, which forms the “wings” of the Seagull.