Shadow play

Tommy Lease, taken from Parker, Colorado

Observing Hubble’s Variable Nebula (NGC 2261) provides proof that the cosmos is indeed in motion: This reflection nebula can change its appearance noticeably over the course of just a few weeks. Its ever-changing appearance is due to dense clumps of gas passing in front of the star R Monocerotis, causing the projected light to play off its surroundings. This image was taken with a one-shot color camera and 10 hours of integration on a 10-inch scope.