“It is passing close to the star Merope, located 0.06 light-years away from the cloud, which is equivalent to about 3,500 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

“This passage is disrupting the nebula and creating the wispy effect seen in the image.”

The star Merope sits just outside the frame but its light is intensely reflected by the cloud.

Because of this effect, IC 349 is officially called a reflection nebula.



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