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About the image: This is a true colour widefield image of the Seagull Nebula (IC 2177), Thor's Helmet (NGC 2359) and the open star cluster M50 as well as numerous other NGC and LBN Nebula. Seagull Nebula: The whole of the Seagull Nebula is actually a collection of many objects that together make up the appearance of a bird in flight. The designation IC 2177 specifically refers to an emission nebula that makes up the seagulls head. The overall Nebula is huge, The brighter part of the nebula in the center part of the image spans an area seven times as wide as the full moon and three times as high. If you include the all of the reddish nebula in the image including the super faint arc of gas to the left of the brighter seagull, this spans an area approximately fourteen times wider than the full moon and ten times higher. The brighter 'Seagull' is roughly 240 light years in diameter and again if you include the fainter arc of the left, that would increase of around 500 light years in diameter. There are many regions of star formation happening in the vast expanse of gas and dust. Thor's Helmet (and a super hot star) Thor's Helmet is an HII nebula comprised of ionised gases and interstellar dust. At it's center lies an extremely hot Wolf Rayet type star designated as WR7. The nebula is believed to being shaped in part by the strong stellar winds produced by this star.
The star WR7 is estimated to be 229,000 times brighter than our own sun, 13 times more massive, and 1.3 times larger. It has an estimated surface temperature of 112,200 Kelvin, that's an astonishing 111,926.85 °C. It is the second smallest Wolf Rayet star currently known.
M50 M50 is an open star cluster also located in the constellation of Monoceros. It lies about 2,900 light years from earth and has a confirmed 508 member stars, also exstimated to be around 140 million years old. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1772. Many distant Galaxies. There are many very distant galaxies in the field of view but not visible in the image. However when looking at the annotated image the locations of known galaxies are marked as PGCxxxxxx
Annotated image version: (Click image to open full size)
Where in the sky is it?
The Jellyfish and Monkey head nebula can be found in at the edges of the constellations of Orion and Gemini. (Click image to open full size)