Rosette Nebula

Photo: Steve Coates

The beautiful petal-like formation of clouds of gas and dust that give the Rosette Nebula its name take center stage in this amazing image captured by an amateur astronomer. 

Astrophotographer Steve Coates captured this amazing view of the Rosette Nebula on Dec. 24 from Ocala, Fla. Radiation from hot, young stars within the central cluster form the nebula's rose-like shape.

The Rosette Nebula , also known as Caldwell 49 or NGC 2237, is a nebula located about 5,200 light-years away at the edge of the molecular cloud Monoceros. One light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

Coates created this image using Ha, OIII and SII filters and processed using Hubble palette, assigning SII to RED, OIII to BLUE and Ha to GREEN. An Orion 80mm EON (Focal length 480mm) telescope, QSI 683 wsg-8 camera and Losmandy G-11 with Gemini II German equatorial mount were used to capture the image.

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by SPACE.com readers, visit the astrophotography archive.

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This story was originally written for SPACE.com and has been republished with permission here. Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company.