Red Rectangle Nebula
- Year Discovered: 1973
- Location: Monoceros Constellation
The Red Rectangle Nebula is one of the most interesting things you’ll ever see. The nebula gets its name honestly, as it appears to be one giant red rectangle. It is located a massive 2,300 lightyears from Earth. The reason it appears as it does has to do with two stars that sit at the heart of the nebula. Dust rings then surround these stars, creating cones of brightness. All of that adds up to work similar to how light operates on Earth.
Get some glass and put it up to the sun or have light shine. You’ll likely see some small colored light at some point, a lot of the time seeing a rectangle pop up at some point. While these stars would likely be unable to give the rectangle shape themselves, the dust enhances their light and creates the rectangle. Basically, ultraviolet light is interacting with carbon-rich molecules within the dust. This is why many believe the nebula is red and not another color, but this is not yet proven.