Pictures of the Bubble Nebula
Beautiful images of the Bubble Nebula, NCG 7635, and facts about the massive star producing the expanding shell of material that gives the nebula its name.
The Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, is located about 7,100 lightyears from Earth in the direction of the W-shaped Cassiopeia constellation.
This remarkably-spherical looking cosmic cloud is the result of a giant star that's 45 times as massive as our own Sun and glows a million times brighter.
The star emits streams of charged particles known as stellar winds out into space at speeds of about 4 million miles an hour.
Throughout its life, this star's winds have pushed cold, interstellar gas and dust outwards, producing the bubble shape that gives the nebula its name.
This process won't last forever, though. Astronomers reckon in about 10 to 20 million years the star will explode in an event known as a supernova.
The Bubble Nebula is 7 lightyears across and was discovered in 1787 by astronomer William Herschel.
Below is a selection of images of the Bubble Nebula captured by BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers and astrophotographers around the world.