Saturday, August 13, 2022

Scarlet and Smoke in The Gum 15 Nebula | ESO

Scarlet and Smoke in The Gum 15 Nebula | ESO

The smokey black silhouette in this image is part of a large, sparse cloud of partially ionized hydrogen—an HII region—known as Gum 15. In wide-field images this nebula appears as a striking reddish purple clump dotted with stars and slashed by opaque, weaving dust lanes. This image homes in on one of these dust lanes, showing the central region of the nebula.

These dark chunks of sky have seemingly few stars because lanes of dusty material are obscuring the bright, glowing regions of gas beyond. The occasional stars that do show up in these patches are actually between us and Gum 15, but create the illusion that we are peering through a window out onto the more distant sky.

Gum 15 is shaped by the aggressive winds flowing from the stars within and around it. The cloud is located near to several large associations of stars including the star cluster ESO 313-13. The brightest member of this cluster, named HD 74804, is thought to have ionized Gum 15’s hydrogen cloud. This ionized hydrogen content is the cause of the red hue permeating the frame.

This image was taken as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems program using the FORS instrument on the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. This project has actually produced multiple images of this target—back in July 2014, ESO released a stunning wide-field image of Gum 15 with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory that showed the nebula’s sculpted clouds, murky dust, and brightly shining stars in extraordinary detail.


The ESO Cosmic Gems program is an initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and public outreach. The program makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for science observations.

Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)

Release Date: November 3, 2014

#NASA #ESO #Astronomy #Space #Science #Stars #Gum15 #Nebula #Gum15Nebula #Star #HD74804 #Vela #Constellation #MilkyWay #Galaxy #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #VLT #FORS #LaSillaObservatory #Chile #Europe #STEM #Education

No comments:

Post a Comment