Also known as IC405 and Caldwell 31, lying at a distance of approximately 1500 light years from us in the constellation Auriga this mesmerizing object is a combination of emission and reflection Nebulae.
The star AE Aurigae is thought to be a runaway star from Orion's belt. This blue O-type star is so hot and bright that it actually knoocks electrons away from the atoms in the surrounding gas causing it to light up the nebula.
Also visible towards the bottom left in this image is IC410 known as The Tadpoles lying at a much further distance of 12,000 light years, this faint Emission Nebula is energized by the neighboring Star Cluster NGC1893, far left in the image is emission Nebula IC417 at 10,000 light years distant containing an open cluster and sometimes referred to as the Spider Nebula.
To see more of Terry Hancock's breathtaking images visit his website downunderobservatory.com .