Caught “Pink-Handed”

The Milky Way contains many regions of starbirth — areas where new stars are springing to life within collapsing clumps of gas and dust. One such region, named Gum 26, is shown here as imaged by the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

Gum 26 is located roughly 20,000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sails). It is something known as an HII region or  emission nebula, where the intense ultraviolet radiation streaming from newly-formed stars ionises the surrounding hydrogen gas, causing it to emit a faint pinkish glow. By catching new stars “pink-handed” in this manner, astronomers can learn more about the conditions under which stars arise, and study how they influence their cosmic environment. 

This image was created as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems programme, an outreach initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and public outreach. The programme makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for science observations. All data collected may also be suitable for scientific purposes, and are made available to astronomers through ESO’s science archive.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:potw2003a
Type:Observation
Release date:20 January 2020, 06:00
Size:3440 x 3444 px

About the Object

Name:Gum 26
Type:Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Star Formation
Milky Way : Nebula : Appearance : Emission : H II Region
Distance:6500 light years
Constellation:Vela
Category:Nebulae

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Coordinates

Position (RA):9 24 30.03
Position (Dec):-51° 59' 10.57"
Field of view:7.23 x 7.24 arcminutes
Orientation:North is -0.0° left of vertical

 

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