Barnard 3 (Wreath Nebula)

Location:  Constellation Perseus
Coordinates:  03 40 00 +31 58 00
Distance: ~1,000 ly

Mainstream description
Dark nebula composed of clouds of smog-like (green) and metallic dust (red) that is brightly illuminated by the star HD 278942 in the middle of the red dust cloud.  Stellar winds from the star cleared out the surrounding dust and created the ring shaped feature.  Foreground and background stars are visible as bright blue points of light.

Alternative description
A cloud of ionized particles, also known as plasma, glows in infrared due to electrical activity within the plasma.  The inner part of this cloud was condensed by a z-pinch induced by magnetic fields within the cloud.  The z-pinch initiated nuclear fusion within the condensed plasma and formed the bright star in the center.


Barnard 3 (Wreath Nebula)Shannon Sims