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November 2002

NGC 7635 - The Bubble Nebula

This glowing nebula surrounds a very hot massive star. Much like the Orion Nebula, the gas we see is energized by the light from the bright star that is embedded within. In this case, though, the star's outflow is blowing a bubble in the surrounding gas. The bubble itself is about 10 light years in diameter, and lies 11,300 light years from us.

This wide-field image shows the surrounding gas that most narrow-field images rarely show, illustrating the complex interconnection between stars, and their surroundings both near and far. Located in the constellation Cassiopeia, the Bubble Nebula complex is actually a nest of three bubbles, two of which are visible here.

Below is an HST image of the central portion of the Bubble Nebula. While the Fick image lacks the fine detail visible with HST, the 'big picture' shows the Bubble as a part of a much larger structure.