Unlike many objects I photograph, this nebula looks like exactly what it is called. It would be hard to imagine that this bright nebula could be called anything but a rose. It is amazing to contemplate the colossal forces that have sculpted this flower. The central cavity is carved out by the violent birth of the massive blue stars. As these stars push out and excite the gases they induce the formation of new stars in the petals of the rose. I particularly like the tendrils of gas and dust that are resisting the interstellar erosion in the center of the rose.
Photons captured in Simpson, North Carolina, in January 2015. The image is 4 stitched panels collected over a total of 17 hours exposure time.
This four-panel mosaic spans the Rosette nebula found in the constellation Monoceros (the unicorn). This colorful rose is 5000 light years away. Glowing hydrogen and oxygen give this nebula its mix of red and blue. These gases are heated to more than 10 million degrees Fahrenheit by the hot young stars at the center of the nebula.