2,500 light-years

The glowing emission nebula IC 1396 is a hot cloud of gas and dust 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Cepheus. Emission nebulas absorb the light of nearby stars and reach very high temperatures. The high temperature causes them to glow. Emission nebulas are often found in regions of space where new stars are forming. Within this view is the Elephant's Trunk Nebula, an elongated dark globule that is a region of dense gas being compressed by the intense radiation and stellar winds from a nearby massive star.

Credit: Nicolas Outters.