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In the famous Pleiades star cluster a star’s light is slowly destroying a passing cloud of gas and dust. The cloud and the star have been in existence for millions of years. In the past 100,000 years, however, part of the cloud has by chance moved so close to the star – only 3500 times the Earth-Sun distance – that the star’s light affects the cloud’s dust in an unusual manner. Pressure of the star’s light significantly repels the dust in the reflection nebula with smaller dust particles being repelled more strongly. A longer-term result is the general destruction of the dust by the energetic starlight. It is not known whether the cloud will survive this encounter.

Scientific information taken from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. This quilt is being exhibited at Piedmont Craftsman’s gallery in Winston-Salem, NC

This piece hangs in a private residence in Raleigh, NC