Another gorgeous image from Hubble! This close-up of NGC 7023, or the Iris Nebula, shows an area filled with cosmic dust. Illuminated from above by the nearby star HD 200775, the dust resembles pink cotton candy, accentuated with diamond-like stars. The “cotton candy” is actually made up of tiny particles of solid matter, with sizes from ten to a hundred times smaller than those of the dust grains we find on Earth, and the “diamonds” are both background and foreground stars.
It’s images like this one that just take my breath away… and it really does look like cotton candy! Known as “candy floss” in the UK. Wikipedia tells me it was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 as “fairy floss”, and it is still known as such in Australia. Which I did not know, so there you go. Knowledge is power.