D. Heilman Astrophotography

Cederblad 214 (SH2-171) Nebula in Cepheus

This bright nebula in the constellation of Cepheus is rich with star formation and displays active pillars and bok globules harboring young protostars.  Dust infiltrates the region and adds depth to the giant molecular cloud which lies approximately 3,000 light years away.  The young cluster of stars near the top of the nebula complex (Berkeley 59) as well as others in the nebula are only a few million years old.  The prominent star at the botttom of the field (actually an eclipsing binary system) is BD+66 1673, one of the hottest stars known, an O5V type star with a surface temperature of over 45,000 K and a luminosity 100,000 times greater than our Sun.  This star is thought to be providing the primary illumination and irradiation of the nebula and has swept out much of the structure in the surrounding gases.