The Cat's Paw Nebula*

The Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334) is a vast region of star formation. This new portrait of NGC 6334 was created from images taken with the Wide Field Imager instrument at the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, combining images taken through blue, green and red filters, as well as a special filter designed to let through the light of glowing hydrogen. NGC 6334 lies about 5500 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius. The whole gas cloud is about 50 light-years across.

NGC 6334 is one of the most active nurseries of massive stars in our galaxy and has been extensively studied by astronomers. The nebula conceals freshly minted brilliant blue stars — each nearly ten times the mass of our Sun and born in the last few million years. The region is also home to many baby stars that are buried deep in the dust, making them difficult to study. In total, the Cat’s Paw Nebula could contain several tens of thousands of stars.

The nebula appears red because its blue and green light are scattered and absorbed more efficiently by material between the nebula and Earth. The red light comes predominantly from hydrogen gas glowing under the intense glare of hot young stars.

This image is available as a mounted image in the ESOshop.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:eso1003a
Type:Observation
Release date:20 January 2010, 12:00
Related releases:eso1003
Size:7738 x 8038 px

About the Object

Name:Cat's Paw Nebula, NGC 6334
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Star Formation
• X - Nebulae
Distance:5500 light years
Constellation:Scorpius

Mounted Image

Image Formats

Large JPEG
79.7 MB
Screensize JPEG
348.1 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
342.9 KB
1280x1024
530.8 KB
1600x1200
747.3 KB
1920x1200
873.9 KB
2048x1536
1.2 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):17 19 58.02
Position (Dec):-35° 57' 47.06"
Field of view:30.71 x 31.91 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.0° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandTelescope
Optical
B
MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI
Optical
V
MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI
Optical
R
MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI
Optical
H-alpha
MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI

 

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