A jaw-dropping new photo from a telescope in South America has revealed a smoke-black cloud in deep space hiding a bustling nursery of baby stars.
The new image, captured by a telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, is the best view ever of the dark space cloud Lupus 3. The cosmic cloud is about 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpious (The Scorpion).
The observatory released a wide-view and video tour of the Lupus 3 space cloud and a dazzling bright star cluster in addition to the close-up photo.
"At first glance, these two features could not be more different, but they are in fact closely linked," ESO officials said in an image description today (Jan. 16).
As the denser regions of the cloud contract under their own gravity and heat up, they blaze up into newborn stars whose light is initially blocked by the surrounding gas. But as stars grow hotter over time, their stellar winds sweep away the obstructing gas so that they emerge as bright beacons similar to those in the star cluster near Lupus 3, ESO officials explained.
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