This image really blows my mind – this is the reflection nebula NGC1333 in Perseus. The blue part is reflected gas and dust from the star that’s lighting up – that’s nothing too unusual. But check out the little red blobs above it. Many of those are “Herbig-Haro” objects, formed by jets spewing out from newly-created stars, interacting with the material the stars formed from. We’re seeing new stars violently coming into existing, lighting up the disks of material around them from which future planets might form as well. How cool is that ?!
There isn’t any narrowband false-color trickery here; this is all straight-up visible light in its natural colors – which I also find amazing. Normally light pollution washed things out a lot more than this, but we got lucky with darker-than-usual skies last night for some reason. I think they finally turned off the stadium lights at the soccer field down the street 🙂