WISE: Wide-Field Infrared Survey ExplorerWISE HomeWISE: Wide-Field Infrared Survey ExplorerWISE: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer
Mission Science News & Events Education & Outreach Multimedia Gallery For Astronomers
WISE: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer
    WISE Home
WISE Multimedia Gallery Images
Movies & Simulations
WWT Guided Tour
WISE Multimedia Gallery

Download Options:

small (110K) 400 x 298 JPEG
medium (296K) 800 x 595 JPEG
large (718K) 1600 x 1191 JPEG
original (10.8M) 3124 x 2325 TIFF


WISE Multimedia Gallery

Packaged Image:

A bright blob of orange-colored star dusts in the middle with blue stars in the background.

Download Options:

Packaged image (1.14M) 3000 x 2400 JPG

Packaged image (21.1M)
10 x 8 in. PDF




Multimedia Gallery

Cocoon Nebula

A bright blob of orange-colored star dusts in the middle with blue stars in the background.

Oct 20, 2010 - Cosmic Cocoon

The aptly named Cocoon nebula is featured in this image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. This cloud of dust and gas, cataloged as IC 5146 and located in the constellation Cygnus, is wrapped in a dark cloud of dust called Barnard 168. Within this cocoon of dust and gas, new stars are forming and beginning to emerge into the wild.

In the heart of the nebula, which looks surprisingly like a Valentine’s heart in WISE's view, massive new stars are emerging. The intense radiation from these stars heats up the cloud. The highest-energy light from the stars rips electrons from hydrogen atoms, which then recombine with the atoms and emit visible light.

Pictures of the Cocoon nebula taken with visible light see only the inner most part of this cloud glowing red and surrounded by an eerie darkness. That darkness appears as an absence of stars, but it is actually a dense cloud of dust obscuring stars behind it. This dense cloud is being heated by the young stars within. The dust absorbs the high-energy radiation from the newborn stars and then glows in infrared light, captured by WISE in this view. The dusty cocoon extends over 45 light-years across, which is more than three times larger than the inner, glowing portion of the nebula.

The colors used in this image represent specific wavelengths of infrared light. Blue and cyan represent light emitted at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is predominantly from stars. Green and red represent light from 12 and 22 microns, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

-About the Object-
Name: IC 5146 (Cocoon Nebula); Barnard 168
Type: Nebula > Emission > HII Region (Cocoon Nebula); Nebula > Dark (Barnard 168)

Distance: 4,000 light-years

Size: 45 light-years
Age: 100,00 years

-About the Image-
Position of object (J2000): RA=21h 53m 32s; Dec=47° 16.1’
Constellation: Cygnus
Field of View: 1.19 x 0.89 degrees
Orientation: North is 106.27 degrees left of vertical
Color Mapping=3.4 microns; Cyan=4.6 microns; Green=12 microns; Red=22 microns
    Return to Image Index  
Last updated 3/7/12 © UC Regents

NASA Untitled Document