IC417, also designated SH2-234, is commonly known as the Spider Nebula. It is located some 10,000 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Auriga. The nebula is composed of massive clouds of gas and dust and is the site of new stellar birth. The gas in the nebula is excited by a cluster of massive, relatively newly formed, stars located near the center of the image above. The very bright star in the upper right of the image is designated Phi Aurigae and is not part of IC417. It is much closer with a parallax determined distance of about 450 light-years.
The image above is known as a mapped, or false, color image and was acquired using narrowband filters. It was assembled using the standard Hubble palette with SII mapped to Red, Ha mapped to Green and OIII mapped to Blue. A Luminance layer, consisting of a combination of the Ha data and SII filtered data, was used.