Sweeping The Dust From A Cosmic Lobster


Credit: ESO/VVV Survey/D. Minniti. Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo

Credit: ESO/VVV Survey/D. Minniti. Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo

A new image from ESO’s VISTA telescope captures a celestial landscape of glowing clouds of gas and tendrils of dust surrounding hot young stars. This infrared view reveals the stellar nursery known as NGC 6357 in a surprising new light. It was taken as part of a VISTA survey that is currently scanning the Milky Way in a bid to map our galaxy’s structure and explain how it formed.

Located around 8000 light-years away in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), NGC 6357 — sometimes nicknamed the Lobster Nebula due to its appearance in visible-light images — is a region filled with vast clouds of gas and tendrils of dark dust. These clouds are forming stars, including massive hot stars which glow a brilliant blue-white in visible light.

This image uses infrared data from ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. It is just a small part of a huge survey called VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV) that is imaging the central parts of the Galaxy. The new picture presents a drastically different view to that seen in visible-light images.

Full Story: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1309/

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