- Carl Crum ’24
The Cocoon Nebula is an emission and reflection nebula, meaning it is composed of ionized gas which not only emits its own light, but reflects the light of the stars within it as well. Located in the constellation of Cygnus at about 4,000 light years away, this nebula is a “stellar nursery” where a new open cluster of stars is being born over the course of many thousands of years. At the center of the Cocoon is a massive star which is producing enough radiation to sculpt the nebula’s dust and gas lanes. Additionally, the Cocoon is surrounded by a dark molecular cloud, a type of nebula which is so dense that it doesn’t permit light to pass through it.