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Daniel Stern

Location of Photo:

Rio Hurtado, Chile

Date/Time of photo:

December 13-16, 2023


CDK-17, Moravian C4-16000


This is NGC 1999, The Cosmic Keyhole Nebula, not to be confused with NGC 3372, the Carina Nebula, which is also referred to as the Keyhole Nebula. The keyhole shape in the central blue patch of the image was originally thought to be a dense cloud of gas and dust, blocking any light from getting through. It is now known that the “keyhole” is actually a void. The area surrounding NGC 1999 is a mixture of emission, reflection, and dark nebulae. It’s located in the Orion area and is a very active star forming region. Being a region so rich in newly formed stars it is peppered with many Herbig-Haro objects, which are always associated with newly formed stars. Jets of material and radiation being emitted by these stars, collide with the surrounding gas-dust environment, creating a bow shock that can emit visible radiation.