Monday, December 12, 2022

Panning across a Cosmic Smokescreen: The Lagoon Nebula | Hubble

Panning across a Cosmic Smokescreen: The Lagoon Nebula | Hubble

A portion of the open cluster NGC 6530 appears as a roiling wall of smoke studded with stars in this image from the NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 6530 is a collection of several thousand stars lying around 4,350 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. The cluster is set within the larger Lagoon Nebula, a gigantic interstellar cloud of gas and dust. It is the nebula that gives this image its distinctly smokey appearance; clouds of interstellar gas and dust stretch from one side of this image to the other.

Description: Clouds of gas cover the entire view, in a variety of bold colors. In the center the gas is brighter and very textured, resembling dense smoke. Around the edges it is more sparse and faint. Several small, bright blue stars are scattered over the nebula.

Astronomers investigated NGC 6530 using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. They scoured the region in the hope of finding new examples of proplyds, a particular class of illuminated protoplanetary discs surrounding newborn stars. The vast majority of proplyds have been found in only one region, the nearby Orion Nebula. This makes understanding their origin and lifetimes in other astronomical environments challenging.

Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)/Hubble & NASA, European Southern Observatory (ESO), O. De Marco  

Acknowledgement: M. H. Özsaraç  

Duration: 30 seconds

Release Date:  Dec. 12, 2022

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