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Constellation of Cepheus (in 3D)

Have you ever wondered what a nebula might look like in 3D? Wonder no more! (GIF is below!)

Located a little over 2,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cepheus, a stellar nursery was born from a huge interstellar cloud of gas. The nebula, IC 1369 (also commonly referred to as the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula) — is monstrous in size. It extends hundreds of light-years across and even as far away as it is from Earth, it takes up an area that is wider than six FULL moons in our sky (a full three degrees!), making it one of the largest emission nebulae discovered thus far. In the top right portion of this image lies a red-supergiant by the name of Mu Cephei. The star itself is also one of the largest that have ever been discovered, as its diameter is larger than the orbit of Saturn, or about 2,356 times the diameter of the Sun. It is also about 300,000 times more luminous!

Due to the vast distances that separates objects in interstellar space, it’s quite unlikely that any of us will ever get to see these things up close and personal with our own two eyes. Though that doesn’t stop incredibly artistic people from breaking the mold and presenting us with something that is truly spectacular. This is one of those things.

It may take a minute or so to load since the file-size is about 7MB, but it’s well worth it: