Pictures of the Iris Nebula
Images of the Iris Nebula and facts about the flower-like cosmic cloud.
The Iris Nebula is a located 1,400 lightyears away in the Cepheus constellation. This floral cloud of cosmic dust and gas is a reflection nebula, meaning it glows due to the scattering of the light from its central star.
The petal-like structure that gives the Iris Nebula its nickname is 6 lightyears in diameter.
What's also striking about pictures of the Iris Nebula is that it appears surrounded by dark regions of cosmic dust, yet its central star makes the the nebula glow brightly through the dust, just like petals blooming from within the depths of the cosmos.
Below is a selection of images of the Iris Nebula captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.