Swan Nebula

Against a starry background sits a nebula that resembles the neck and head of a swan who is looking to the left. The cloudy nebula is a dark red on the edges that would be the right side of the swan’s neck and top of its head. This fades into a pale yellow on the left side of the swan’s neck and the bottom of the head and beak. Inside the crook of the neck there is a semi-transparent blue cloud. All of this is on a black, starry background.
January 7, 2020
CreditNASA/SOFIA/De Buizer/Radomski/Lim; NASA/JPL-Caltech; ESA/Herschel
Historical DateJanuary 7, 2020
  • english

NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) detected the blue areas (20 microns) near the center of this composite image of the Swan Nebula, revealing gas as it’s heated by massive stars located at the center. The green areas (37 microns) trace dust as it’s warmed both by massive stars and nearby newborn stars. The red areas near the edge represent cold dust that was detected by the Herschel Space Telescope (70 microns), while the white star field was detected by the Spitzer Space Telescope (3.6 microns).