RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "Nebula"

2014 astronomy and space calendars

IT’S NOT TOO LATE to grab one of these beautiful 2014 astronomy and space exploration calendars. We’ve selected more than 20 of the best from around the world. From Hubble’s latest images, to planets, deep space nebulae, aurorae (northern and southern lights), and even one from astronauts aboard the space station (a crew that included the pop star of astronomers, Canadian Chris Hadfield). They’re all available right now through the SpaceInfo Shop at www.spaceinfo.com.au/astrocalendars.html

Montage of space calendars

All over these calendars are available now from the SpaceInfo Shop – www.SpaceInfo.com.au

New view of the Horsehead Nebula

Horsehead Nebula in infrared light

The rich tapestry of the Horsehead Nebula pops out against the backdrop of Milky Way stars and distant galaxies that easily are visible in infrared light. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

ASTRONOMERS HAVE USED NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory have produced stunning new photographs of the iconic Horsehead Nebula at infrared wavelengths.

Looking like an apparition rising from whitecaps of interstellar foam, the iconic Horsehead Nebula has graced astronomy books ever since its discovery more than a century ago. It is about 1,300 light-years from Earth.

The new far-infrared Herschel view shows in spectacular detail the scene playing out around the Horsehead Nebula at the right-hand side of the image, where it seems to surf like a ‘white horse’ in the waves of turbulent star-forming clouds.

Horsehead Nebula in infrared light

A new view from ESA’s Herschel space observatory of the iconic Horsehead Nebula (right) and two other prominent sites where massive stars are forming, NGC 2068 and NGC 2071 (left). Image credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/N. Schneider, Ph. André, V. Könyves (CEA Saclay, France) for the “Gould Belt survey” Key Programme.

It appears to be riding towards another favorite stopping point for astrophotographers: NGC 2024, also known as the Flame Nebula. This star-forming region appears obscured by dark dust lanes in visible light images, but blazes in full glory in the far-infrared Herschel view.

Intense radiation streaming away from newborn stars heats up the surrounding dust and gas, making it shine brightly to Herschel’s infrared-sensitive eyes.

The panoramic view also covers two prominent sites of massive star formation to the northeast (left-hand side of this image), known as NGC 2068 (or M78) and NGC 2071. These take on the appearance of beautifully patterned butterfly wings, with long tails of colder gas and dust streaming away.

A wide-angle view of the Horsehead Nebula

A wide-angle view of the Horsehead Nebula, seen at normal visible wavelengths. Image Credit: NASA

Extensive networks of cool gas and dust weave throughout the scene in the form of red and yellow filaments, some of which may host newly forming lightweight stars.

The new Hubble view, taken at near-infrared wavelengths with its Wide Field Camera 3 to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the launch of the observatory, zooms in on the Horsehead to reveal fine details of its structure.

Nearby stars illuminate the backlit wisps along the upper ridge of the nebula in an ethereal glow. The harsh ultraviolet glare from these bright stars is slowly evaporating the dusty stellar nursery. Two fledgling stars have already been exposed from their protective cocoons, and can just be seen peeking out from the upper ridge.

The nebula is a favourite target for amateur and professional astronomers. It is shadowy in optical light, but appears transparent and ethereal when seen at infrared wavelengths.

Detailed, visible wavelength image of the Horsehead

This detailed, visible wavelength image of the Horsehead was released by the European Southern Observatory in 2002. Image credit: ESO

Adapted from information issued by NASA and ESA.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

GALLERY: Light and dark in the Milky Way

Star cluster NGC 6520 and nebula Barnard 86

The bright star cluster NGC 6520 and its neighbour, the dark cloud Barnard 86. In the background are millions of glowing stars from the brightest part of the Milky Way.

SET AGAINST A BACKGROUND of millions of glowing stars from the brightest part of the Milky Way, a region so dense with stars that barely any dark sky can be seen, lies the bright star cluster NGC 6520 and its neighbour, the dark nebula Barnard 86.

This part of the constellation Sagittarius is one of the richest star fields in the whole sky – the Large Sagittarius Star Cloud. The huge number of stars dramatically emphasise the blackness of dark clouds like Barnard 86.

Known as a Bok globule, Barnard 86 was described as “a drop of ink on the luminous sky” by its discoverer Edward Emerson Barnard, an American astronomer who discovered and photographed numerous comets, dark nebulae, one of Jupiter’s moons, and made many other contributions. An exceptional visual observer and keen astrophotographer, Barnard was the first to use long-exposure photography to explore dark nebulae.

Through a small telescope Barnard 86 looks like a hole in the star fields, or a window onto a patch of distant, clearer sky. However, it is actually in the foreground of the star field – a cold, dark, dense cloud made up of small dust grains that block starlight and make the region appear black. It is thought to have formed from the remnants of an interstellar cloud that formed the star cluster NGC 6520, seen just to the left of Barnard 86.

NGC 6520 is an open star cluster that contains many hot stars that glow bright blue-white, a telltale sign of their youth. Open clusters usually contain a few thousand stars that all formed at the same time, giving them all the same age. Such clusters usually only live comparatively short lives, on the order of several hundred million years, before drifting apart.

Both NGC 6520 and Barnard 86 are thought to lie at a distance of around 6,000 light-years from our Sun. The stars that appear to be within Barnard 86 are actually in front of it, between us and the nebula.

The image was taken with the Wide Field Imager, an instrument mounted on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory.

Star cluster NGC 6520 and nebula Barnard 86

This wide-field view shows the very rich star fields of the Large Sagittarius Star Cloud and the cluster NGC 6520 and the neighbouring dark cloud Barnard 86. It was created from images from the Digitized Sky Survey 2.

Adapted from information issued by ESO. Images courtesy ESO / Digitised Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

From darkness comes the light

Lupus 3 dark cloud

The Lupus 3 dark cloud, about 600 light-years from Earth, is a region where new stars are forming. Alongside is a cluster of brilliant stars that have already emerged from their dusty stellar nursery.

  • Lupus 3 stellar nursery is about 600 light-years from Earth
  • New stars are forming out of the dark dust clouds

A NEW IMAGE RELEASED by the European Southern Observatory shows a dark cloud where new stars are forming, along with a cluster of brilliant stars that have already emerged from their dusty stellar nursery.

The new picture was taken with the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile and is the best image ever taken at visible light wavelengths of this little-known object.

The cloud is known as Lupus 3, and it lies about 600 light-years from Earth. The section shown here is about five light-years across.

On the left of this new image there is a dark cloud that contains huge amounts of cool cosmic dust and is a nursery where new stars are being born. It is likely that the Sun formed in a similar star formation region more than four billion years ago.

As the denser parts of such clouds contract under the effects of gravity they heat up and start to shine – they’re new stars. At first their light is blocked by the dusty clouds and can be seen only by telescopes observing at longer wavelengths than visible light, such as infrared. But as the stars get hotter and brighter, their intense radiation and stellar winds gradually clear the clouds around them until they emerge in all their glory.

The bright stars on the right are a perfect example. Some of their brilliant blue light is being scattered off the remaining dust around them. The two brightest stars can be seen easily with a small telescope or binoculars. They are young stars that have not yet started to shine by nuclear fusion in their cores and are still surrounded by glowing gas. They’re probably less than one million years old.

Wider view of Lupus 3

A wider view of Lupus 3 shows the extent of the dark dust cloud, silhouetted against the starry background of our galaxy.

Adapted from information issued by ESO. Images courtesy ESO / F. Comeron / Digitised Sky Survey 2 / Davide De Martin.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

The Manatee Nebula

W50 supernova remnant

The W50 supernova remnant – now known as the Manatee Nebula – seen at radio wavelengths (green) against the background of stars and dust (seen at infrared wavelengths).

  • Supernova remnant cloud imaged by VLA radio telescope system
  • The cloud closely resembles the endangered Florida manatee
  • Manatees are gentle giants, until black holes, which are far from gentle

A NEW VIEW of a 20,000-year-old supernova remnant and shows how this giant cloud resembles a beloved endangered species, the Florida Manatee.

Known as W50, the supernova remnants is one of the largest ever viewed by the US National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), which has recently been upgraded. Nearly 700 light-years across, seen from Earth W50 covers two degrees on the sky – that’s as wide as four full Moons.

The enormous W50 cloud formed when a giant star, 18,000 light-years away, exploded as a supernova around twenty thousand years ago, sending its outer gases flying outward in an expanding bubble.

The remaining, gravitationally-crushed relic of that giant star, most likely a black hole, feeds on gas from a very close, companion star. The cannibalised gas collects in a swirling cloud around the black hole.

The black hole’s powerful magnetic field snags charged particles out of the cloud and channels them outward in powerful jets travelling at nearly the speed of light.

The system shines brightly in both radio waves and X-rays and is known collectively as the SS 433 microquasar.

Over time, the microquasar’s jets have forced their way through the expanding gases of the W50 bubble, eventually punching bulges outward on either side. The jets also wobble, like an unstable spinning top, and blaze vivid corkscrew patterns across the inflating bulges.

Florida manatee

A Florida manatee rests underwater in Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida.

New namesake

When the W50 image reached the NRAO director’s office, Heidi Winter, the director’s executive assistant, saw the likeness to a manatee, the endangered marine mammals known as ‘sea cows’ that congregate in warm waters in the south-eastern United States.

Florida manatees are gentle giants that average around three metres long, weigh over 500kg, and spend up to eight hours a day grazing on sea plants. They occupy the remainder of their day resting, often on their backs with their flippers crossed over their large bellies, in a pose closely resembling W50.

Dangerous encounters with boat propellers injure many of these curious herbivores, giving them deep, curved scars similar in appearance to the arcs made by the powerful jets on the large W50 remnant.

Thanks to Ms Winter’s suggestion, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory has adopted a new nickname for W50: The Manatee Nebula.

Adapted from information issued by NRAO. W50 image courtesy NRAO / AUI / NSF, K. Golap, M. Goss; NASA’s Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE). Manatee image courtesy Tracy Colson.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

Cosmic superbubble shaped by stars

N 44 superbubble nebula

The N 44 superbubble nebula is being formed by hot winds from bright, young stars.

THIS STRIKING VIEW shows a ‘superbubble’ nebula surrounding the young star cluster NGC 1929 within the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy.

The superbubble (formally known as LHA 120-N 44) has been produced by the combination of two processes. Firstly, stellar winds—streams of charged particles from the very hot and massive stars in the central cluster—cleared out the central region. Then massive stars exploded as supernovae, producing shockwaves and pushing the gas out further to form the glowing bubble.

The vast shell of material is around 325 by 250 light-years across. For comparison, the nearest star to our Sun is just over four light-years away.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a small neighbouring galaxy to the Milky Way. It contains many regions where clouds of gas and dust are forming new stars.

Although the superbubble is shaped by destructive forces, new stars are forming around the edges where the gas is being compressed. Like recycling on a cosmic scale, this next generation of stars will breathe fresh life into NGC 1929.

The image was made by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) from observational data collected by the Very Large Telescope and identified by Manu Mejias, from Argentina, who participated in ESO’s Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition.

Download desktop wallpapers:

NGC 1929 superbubble 1024×768 (413.1 KB)

NGC 1929 superbubble 1280×1024 (657.3 KB)

NGC 1929 superbubble 1600×1200 (952.2 KB)

NGC 1929 superbubble 1920×1200 (986.2 KB)

Adapted from information issued by ESO / Manu Mejias.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

A nebula to dye for!

The Rho Ophiuchi clouds

The colourful Rho Ophiuchi star formation region, about 400 light-years from Earth, contains very cold (around -250 degrees Celsius), dense clouds of cosmic gas and dust, in which new stars are being born. Astronomers using the APEX telescope have detected hydrogen peroxide molecules in the area marked with the red circle.

MOLECULES OF HYDROGEN PEROXIDE have been found for the first time in interstellar space. The discovery gives clues about the chemical link between two molecules critical for life: water and oxygen.

On Earth, hydrogen peroxide plays a key role in the chemistry of water and ozone in our planet’s atmosphere, and is familiar for its use as a disinfectant or to bleach hair blonde. It’s also sometimes used as rocket fuel!

An international team of astronomers made the discovery with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX), situated on the 5,000-metre-high Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes.

They studied a region in our galaxy close to the star Rho Ophiuchi, about 400 light-years away. The region contains very cold (around -250 degrees Celsius), dense clouds of cosmic gas and dust, in which new stars are being born.

The clouds are mostly made of hydrogen, but contain traces of other chemicals, and are prime targets for astronomers hunting for molecules in space.

Telescopes such as APEX, which make observations of light at millimetre- and submillimetre-wavelengths, are ideal for detecting the signals from these molecules.

Now, the team has found the characteristic signature of light emitted by hydrogen peroxide, coming from part of the Rho Ophiuchi clouds.

“We were really excited to discover the signatures of hydrogen peroxide with APEX,” says Per Bergman, astronomer at Onsala Space Observatory in Sweden. “We knew from laboratory experiments which wavelengths to look for, but the amount of hydrogen peroxide in the cloud is just one molecule for every ten billion hydrogen molecules, so the detection required very careful observations.”

Bergman is lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

APEX telescope

The APEX telescope studies the cosmos at millimetre- and submillimetre-wavelengths—ideal for detecting certain molecules.

Clue to the origin of water

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a key molecule for both astronomers and chemists. Its formation is closely linked to two other familiar molecules, oxygen and water, which are critical for life. Because much of the water on our planet is thought to have originated in space, scientists are keen to understand how it is formed.

Hydrogen peroxide is thought to form in space on the surfaces of cosmic dust grains—very fine particles similar to sand and soot—when hydrogen (H) is added to oxygen molecules (O2). A further reaction of the hydrogen peroxide with more hydrogen is one way to produce water (H2O).

This new detection of hydrogen peroxide will therefore help astronomers better understand the formation of water in the Universe.

“We don’t understand yet how some of the most important molecules here on Earth are made in space. But our discovery of hydrogen peroxide with APEX seems to be showing us that cosmic dust is the missing ingredient in the process,” says Bérengère Parise, head of the Emmy Noether research group on star formation and astrochemistry at the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany, and a co-author of the paper.

To work out just how the origins of these important molecules are intertwined will need more observations of Rho Ophiuchi and other star-forming clouds with future telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)—and help from chemists in laboratories on Earth.

The new discovery may also help astronomers understand another interstellar mystery—why oxygen molecules are so hard to find in space. It was only in 2007 that oxygen molecules were first discovered in space, by the satellite Odin.

APEX is a collaboration between the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), the Onsala Space Observatory (OSO) and European Southern Observatory. The telescope is operated by ESO.

Wide field view of the Rho Ophiuchi star formation

A full view of the Rho Ophiuchi star formation region, which is a favourite of amateur astronomers. Rho Ophiuchi itself is the bright star near the top of the image. The bright yellowish star in the bottom left is Antares, one of the brightest stars in the sky. Below and to Antares’ right is the globular star cluster Messier 4.

Download wallpapers of the Rho Ophiuchi clouds:

1024 x 768 (475.0 KB)

1280 x 1024 (833.5 KB)

1600 x 1200 (1.2 MB)

1920 x 1200 (1.3 MB)

Adapted from information issued by ESO / S. Guisard (www.eso.org/~sguisard) / H.H.Heyer.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

Celestial treasure trove

WISE image of the Andromeda galaxy

WISE's infrared view of the Andromeda galaxy ignores most of the stars, and instead brings out detail in dust clouds heated by the energy of stars.

  • WISE space telescope studied the cosmos at infrared wavelengths
  • It took 2.7 million images during its mission
  • Huge archive of images and data has now been released

ASTRONOMERS ARE SIFTING through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.

WISE launched into space on December 14, 2009, on a mission to map the entire sky in infrared light with greatly improved sensitivity and resolution over its predecessors.

From its orbit, it scanned the skies about one-and-a-half times while collecting images taken at four infrared wavelengths of light. It took more than 2.7 million images over the course of its mission, capturing objects ranging from faraway galaxies to asteroids relatively close to Earth.

Like other infrared telescopes, WISE required coolant to chill its heat-sensitive detectors. When this frozen hydrogen coolant ran out, as expected, in early October, 2010, two of its four infrared channels were still operational.

The survey was then extended for four more months, with the goal of finishing its sweep for asteroids and comets in the main asteroid belt of our Solar System.

The satellite went into hibernation in early February of this year.

WISE image of IC 342

Spiral galaxy IC 342 is normally hard to see through the stars of the Milky Way, but WISE's infrared eyes can see it spectacular detail.

WISE image Rho Ophiuchi

The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex is one of the nearest star-forming regions to Earth. WISE's infrared capabilities enable astronomers to see normally hidden details.

The mission’s nearby discoveries included 20 comets, more than 33,000 asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, and 133 near-Earth objects, which are those asteroids and comets with orbits that come close to Earth’s path around the Sun.

Data from the first 57 percent of the sky surveyed is now accessible through an online public archive. The complete survey, with improved data processing, will be made available in the spring of 2012.

A predecessor to WISE, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, served a similar role about 25 years ago, and those data are still valuable to astronomers today. Likewise, the WISE legacy is expected to endure for decades.

Astronomers will use WISE’s infrared data to hunt for hidden oddities, and to study trends in large populations of known objects. Survey missions often result in the unexpected discoveries too, because they are looking everywhere in the sky rather than at known targets.

The whole collection can be seen at: http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/gallery_images.html

Adapted from information issued by JPL.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

Going out with a bang

NGC 3582

Giant loops of gas ejected by dying stars in the star formation region NGC 3582, bear a striking resemblance to solar prominences.

GIANT LOOPS OF GAS bearing a striking resemblance to solar prominences are seen in this image of the nebula NGC 3582.

The loops are thought to have been ejected by dying stars, although new stars are also being born within this stellar nursery.

These energetic youngsters emit intense ultraviolet radiation that makes the gas in the nebula glow, producing the fiery display shown here.

NGC 3582 is part of a large star-forming region in the Milky Way, called RCW 57, close to the central plane of the Milky Way.

The famous astronomers John Herschel first spotted this complex region of glowing gas and dark dust clouds in 1834, during his stay in South Africa.

Some of the stars forming in regions like NGC 3582 are much more massive than the Sun. These monster stars emit energy at prodigious rates and have very short lives that end in the stellar explosions called supernovae.

The material ejected from these explosions creates bubbles in the surrounding gas and dust. This is the probable cause of the loops visible in this picture.

Here’s a short video that takes you on a sweeping journey into NGC 3582:

The image was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile.

It is a false-colour image made up of separate exposures taken through multiple filters. From the Wide Field Imager, data taken through a red filter are coloured in green and red, and data taken through a filter that isolates the red glow characteristic of hydrogen are also shown in red. Additional infrared data from the Digitised Sky Survey are shown in blue.

The image was processed by ESO using the data identified by amateur astronomer Joe DePasquale, from the United States, who participated in ESO’s Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition. The competition was organised by ESO in October-November 2010, for everyone who enjoys making beautiful images of the night sky using astronomical data obtained using professional telescopes.

ESO’s Hidden Treasures 2010 competition gave amateur astronomers the opportunity to search through ESO’s vast archives of astronomical data, hoping to find a well-hidden gem that needed polishing by the entrants.

More information: Hidden Treasures

Adapted from information issued by ESO, Digitised Sky Survey 2 and Joe DePasquale.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

Rosy glow of young stars

NGC 371

The red glow of ionised hydrogen gas surrounds a group of young stars, which together make up the object known as NGC 371.

THE VIVID RED CLOUD in this new image from the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope is a region of glowing gas surrounding the star cluster NGC 371.

NGC 371 is an example of a mature ‘star birth’ region. The red cloud is made of ionised hydrogen—an HII region in astronomers’ jargon—surrounding a place that has experienced high rates of recent star birth, leading to the formation of an ‘open star cluster’.

An open star cluster is group of stars that formed together and are all in the same vicinity, but with a random scattering (unlike ‘globular’ star clusters, which form into a ball shape).

Stars in open clusters all originate from the same diffuse HII region. Over time the majority of the hydrogen is used up to form the stars, leaving behind just a leftover shell of hydrogen such as the one in this image.

NGC 371’s home, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), is a dwarf galaxy a mere 200,000 light-years away, which makes it one of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way.

Watch a video that zooms into the SMC and NGC 371:

The SMC contains stars at all stages of their evolution…from the highly luminous young stars found in NGC 371 to supernova remnants of dead stars.

The energetic young stars emit copious amounts of ultraviolet radiation, making the surrounding gas light up with a colourful glow that extends for hundreds of light-years in every direction.

NGC 371 is of particular interest due to the unexpectedly large number of variable stars it contains. These are stars that change in brightness over time.

A particularly interesting type of variable star, known as slowly pulsating B stars, can also be used to study the internal working of stars through a technique known as asteroseismology, and several of these have been confirmed in this cluster.

Variable stars play a pivotal role in astronomy—some types are invaluable for determining distances to far-off galaxies and the age of the Universe.

The data for this image were selected from the ESO archive by Manu Mejias as part of the Hidden Treasures competition.

Adapted from information issued by ESO / Manu Mejias.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…