A star wrapped in the beautiful colors of the nebula that birthed it

The star R. Coronae Australis lies within one of the nearest star-forming regions of our galaxy. Surrounded by a blue nebula, it's been described as a "cosmic watercolor." We've got jaw-dropping pictures and video of this amazing stellar neighborhood inside.

Located some 420 light-years away, R. Coronae Australis is part of a small constellation known as the Southern Crown. It's a very young star, so young that it's still surrounded by the nebula from which it formed. The huge amount of radiation emitted by the star interacts and is partially reflected by the nebula and the dust cloud beyond, leading to a series of complex processes that give the nebula its magnificent color. Specifically, its blue hue is the product of starlight reflecting off dust particles.

The star and its surrounding region were photographed using the telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. The photographs below are the combination of a dozen shots using different color filters. Check out some larger shots of the region and a couple videos in the gallery below.


[European Southern Observatory]

R. Coronae Australis is in the center right of this picture, and the blue region around it is its nebula. This image covers a distance about forty light-years across, as does the even larger version of this same image you can see next.


Here's an even better view of the subtle colors and varying texture that have led astronomers to dub the star and its nebula a "cosmic watercolor", recalling the work of an impressionist painter.


Here's a much wider view of this crowded area of the sky. You can see R. Coronae Australis in the middle right of this picture.

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