D. Heilman Astrophotography

Soul Nebula (W5, SH2-199)

This dynamic region exists within the Perseus arm of the Milky Way, from our vantage point in the constellation of Cassiopeia.  It harbors several small star clusters which have sculpted the nebula with strong stellar winds in different directions resulting in undulating clouds of excited gas.  Young, massive O-type stars are found at the cores of these large wind-swept cavities, their radiation pushing outward all but the most dense gas and dust forming pillars where the next generation of stars will be formed.  The nebula is roughly 6,500 light years distant and approximately 100 light years across, a neighbor of the Heart Nebula it's namesake twin (also imaged in the gallery).