Waves of the Great Lacerta Nebula

APOD: 2022 September 14 - Waves of the Great Lacerta Nebula

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 September 14
The featured image shows stars and the glowing red
waves of the Great Lacerta Nebula. 
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Waves of the Great Lacerta Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Jarmo Ruuth, Telescope Live; Text: Ata Sarajedini (Florida Atlantic U., Astronomy Minute podcast)

Explanation: It is one of the largest nebulas on the sky -- why isn't it better known? Roughly the same angular size as the Andromeda Galaxy, the Great Lacerta Nebula can be found toward the constellation of the Lizard (Lacerta). The emission nebula is difficult to see with wide-field binoculars because it is so faint, but also usually difficult to see with a large telescope because it is so great in angle -- spanning about three degrees. The depth, breadth, waves, and beauty of the nebula -- cataloged as Sharpless 126 (Sh2-126) -- can best be seen and appreciated with a long duration camera exposure. The featured image is one such combined exposure -- in this case 10 hours over five different colors and over six nights during this past June and July at the IC Astronomy Observatory in Spain. The hydrogen gas in the Great Lacerta Nebula glows red because it is excited by light from the bright star 10 Lacertae, one of the bright blue stars just above the red-glowing nebula's center. The stars and nebula are about 1,200 light years distant.

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

The Tarantula Zone
A Long Snaking Filament on the Sun