About 12,000 lightyears distant and 30 lightyears across. There is an extremely hot star thought to be in a pre-supernova state at the center of the central "bubble". The stellar wind of this central star causes this bubble of hot glowing material. The surrounding molecular cloud influences the other filaments and strange shapes around the bubble giving it the helmet-like appearance we see in this photo.
This photo was taken right here in Oyster Bay back in January of 2023. The total exposure time is 3 hours and 10 minutes of "stacked" 5-minute exposures. At this latitude, it is fairly low in the southern night sky and that poses a real light pollution issue with Hicksville directly to the south. The only way to beat light pollution is with the use of filters or very very long exposures. To do this correctly, one would have many more hours of exposure. The skies in Oyster Bay Cove are a Bortle 5+ on the light pollution scale. Pitch black skies in the north woods of Maine have a Bortle rating of 1, and Manhattan comes in somewhere around Bortle 9. The lower the number, the darker the skies. It's still incredible what can be captured even in these bright skies in the Cove. Enjoy the photo!
To schedule your own private star-gazing event email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Perry and his wife Mahtab have lived in the Cove since 2011.