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A wizard in the sky: The apophenia of nebulae (pictures)

What do you see when you look at nebula photographs? One astrophotographer has shared his vision of the shapes in space.

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Michelle Starr
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1 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Wizard

NGC 7380 -- nicknamed the Wizard Nebula -- was discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1787, the first woman to be paid for her work in science.

You can find more information about this image here.

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2 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Dancer

Melotte 15 is nicknamed the Heart Nebula, but in this small piece, Metsavainio sees a twirling dancer.

You can find more information about this image here.

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3 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Heart

Here is the Heart Nebula -- Melotte 15 -- in all its muscly glory.

You can find more information about this image here.

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4 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Dragon

In this 18-panel mosaic of the Veil Nebula inside the constellation Cygnus, Metsavainio sees a Chinese dragon.

You can find more information about this image here.

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5 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree Cluster, topped by the Cone Nebula.

You can find more information about this image here.

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6 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Hawk

The wings of a hawk, spreading across NGC 7000, the North American Nebula.

You can find more information about this image here.

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7 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Red Ghost

A ghost haunts Cassiopeia in the form of IC 63.

You can find more information about this image here.

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8 of 8 © J-P Metsavainio. Used with permission of J-P Metsavainio.

The Rose

The origins of the Rosette Nebula's nickname are pretty clear.

You can find more information about this image here.

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