November 27, 2022

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ESO telescope sees a huge star factory looming in space

ESO telescope sees a huge star factory looming in space

In honor of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the European Meteorological Society, the observatory releases an impressive image of the Conical Nebula. And this “star factory” shines in the picture like never before.

The so-called Cone Nebula is a beautiful nebula in the constellation Unicorn. The nebula is less than 2,500 light-years away, which makes it relatively close to Earth. It is not without reason that the Conical Nebula is a popular research object and has been photographed many times. However, the new image is more impressive than any of the previous images. Because you wouldn’t agree that the dark and impenetrable cloud structure of the nebula in this image makes it look a lot like a monstrous creature?

star factory
The new image, captured by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows the seven-light-year-high column of the Conical Nebula at its center. It is part of the larger star forming region NGC 2264. New young stars are forming in the gas and dust plumes, hence the name “star factory”. The Conic Nebula was discovered in the late 19th century by the famous astronomer William Herschel.

This image, taken with a FOcal Reducer and Spectrograph 2 (FORS2) on ESO’s VLT in Chile, shows hydrogen gas in blue and sulfur gas in red. Using these filters, the bright blue stars, which are a sign of recent star formation, look almost golden and shine against the dark nebula. Photo: ESO

How exactly did the characteristic columns originate? The pillar-like structures form in giant clouds of cold molecular gas and dust, known as stellar nurseries. Such structures form when newly forming massive, bright blue stars emit strong winds and intense ultraviolet rays that push matter away from their surroundings. As a result, gas and dust are compressed at a greater distance from young stars into dense, dark and long “pillars”. This is how the Conic Nebula was born.

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birthday
The Great Star Factory photo was taken in honor of the association’s 60th anniversary. “On October 5, 1962, five countries signed the Treaty establishing ESO,” ESO writes in a statement. “Now, six decades later, and with the support of 16 member states and a strategic partner, ESO is bringing together scientists and engineers from around the world to build and operate state-of-the-art observatories in Chile, enabling groundbreaking astronomical discoveries. To mark the 60th anniversary of the association, we publish this fascinating new image of the Conical Nebula that It was taken earlier this year and selected by the association’s staff.”

the universe secrets
Over the past 60 years, ESO has made a significant contribution to unraveling the mysteries of the universe. For example, they already made it The first image of a planet outside the solar systemThey thoroughly investigated The black hole at the heart of our galaxy and found them Evidence for the accelerating expansion of the universe.

We can expect much more. Because at the moment, in the remote Chilean Atacama desert, ESO is building a huge telescope called the “Extremeley Large Telescope” (ELT). This monstrous telescope will be equipped with the latest instruments, with which astronomers can study the universe in more detail. ESO concludes, “Through our current facilities and the upcoming ELT, we will continue to answer humanity’s biggest questions about the universe and enable unimaginable discoveries.”