July 7 Astronomy Picture of the Day

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 July 7

The NGC 6914 Complex

Image Credit & CopyrightGiorgio Ferrari

Explanation: A study in contrasts, this colorful skyscape features stars, dust, and glowing gas in the vicinity of NGC 6914. The interstellar complex of nebulae lies some 6,000 light-years away, toward the high-flying northern constellation Cygnus and the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Obscuring interstellar dust clouds appear in silhouette while reddish hydrogen emission nebulae, along with the dusty blue reflection nebulae, fill the cosmic canvas. Ultraviolet radiation from the massive, hot, young stars of the extensive Cygnus OB2 association ionize the region’s atomic hydrogen gas, producing the characteristic red glow as protons and electrons recombine. Embedded Cygnus OB2 stars also provide the blue starlight strongly reflected by the dust clouds. The over 1 degree wide telescopic field of view spans about 100 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 6914.