Ever wonder what a nursery for stars looks like?
If this image is any indication, it’s a beautiful but chaotic place. Taken with the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, as part of the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Cosmic Gems program, the image is dominated by a gigantic nebula known as Gum 56 – nicknamed the Prawn Nebula. It is illuminated by three patches of hot, young stars that glow brightly in ultraviolet light.
It is the light from these stars that causes the nebula’s gas clouds to glow.
“One of the things you have to take away from this is that it looks quite chaotic and really it is quite chaotic,” Jeremy R. Walsh, a research astronomer with ESO, told CBS News. “There are stars forming in all different places. There is dust. There are clouds of gas and its all moving around. It’s a complex scene.”