D. Heilman Astrophotography

NGC 7380 - Wizard Nebula

The Wizard Nebula is part of an open star cluster discovered in 1787 by Caroline Herschel. The surrounding Nebula is approximately 7200 light years distant and spans ~100 light years towards the constellation of Cepheus.  The cluster is young, estimated at only 4 million years and is still embedded in the  nebular gases from which it came.  The nebula is rich with back-lit gas plumes and pillars as stars in the cluster illuminate the features from behind.  The nebula gets its name from the shape the gases form, in this case a sleeping Wizard as the shape is turned 90 degrees counterclockwise with the hat and head of the Wizard at the left and hands and feet at the right (as if the Wizard is laying on his back).  Be careful, once you see it you can't un-see it!


- Stars