Picture of the Day: A Pre-Planetary Pachydermic Proboscis

emissionneb615.jpg

NASA

Gas, stars and even an pachydermic proboscis mix in this photograph of nebula IC 1396, which lurks within the constellation Cepheus. This emission nebula was photographed by terrestrial telescopes between 1988 and 1993 in black and white, then run through colored filters. A large blue star illuminates its entire body, and, near the center, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula trumpets light proudly. 3,000 light years away, IC 1396 stretches hundreds of light years across.

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Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

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