In the beginning
One of our closest nebula neighbors gets a stunning new portrait.
ESO/L.Calçada, ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: D. De Martin. Music: Azul Cobalto
Less than 2,500 light years from Earth, a great pillar of dust towers in the darkness of space, itself a birthplace for light.
NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M.Clampin (STScI), G. Hartig (STScI), the ACS Science Team, and ESA
This week, the European Southern Observatory released a drastically different portrait of the old favorite.
The dark dust clouds show just how densely this region is packed with cold gas, creating the ideal conditions for spawning new stars.
ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: D. De Martin
Here’s where the cone rises.
It’s a bit difficult to spot from a distance.
Though it’s a massive seven light years tall, the nebula pales in size against the backdrop of the universe.
It’s just one part of the NGC 2264 region, which also contains the Christmas Tree Cluster — a group of stars that look like spherical ornaments.
And even though the close proximity of the nebula makes it well-studied, the VLT’s snapshot shows that there’s always something new to see in an old favorite.