D. Heilman Astrophotography

IC 5067 - Cosmic Mountains

This cosmic ridge line is found in the Pelican Nebula as part of a larger gas cloud in the constellation of Cygnus.  The region is active with star formation and gases are swept and sculpted by powerful stellar winds, creating mountainous shapes from our Earthly view.  Several distinct gas pillars are visible in the image, the result of more densely packed gas surviving the onslaught of stellar wind.  These areas harbor protostars that have yet to break out of the tips of the pillars.  The rightmost pillar near the center of the image displays a Herbig-Haro body - a bipolar outflow of high speed gases ejected from the poles of a newly forming star.  The area is also populated with shock fronts (bow shocks) created when high speed gas collides with the surrounding medium,the resulting collision heats the gas to emission temperatures making an eerie crescent shaped glow.  This nebula exists approximately 2000 light years from Earth and the mountainous area in the image is nearly 10 light years across.


- Stars