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Galaxy Fountains of the Universe
When I was younger and saw images of nebulae, I had no concept of the scale of things and thought that every "cloud" I was seeing was actually another cluster of stars. Most of what you see here is ionized gas. The Rosette Nebula you see here lies appoximately 5000+ light years from Earth and is about 130 light years across. The young stars in the center of the nebula are powerful enough to make the atoms in the surrounding gases glow on their own. I just think these nebulae are really pretty...gorgeous, in fact.
I've been spending more and more time, attempting to capture the glow of these nebulae with the technique of back-painting on optical Lexan and then illuminating them with LED lights. The most difficult thing is to try to submerge the "hand of the artist" and just allow the image to shine on its own. As with all the Galaxy Fountains, the water flows down the front side, creating a magical ripple in the galaxies.