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  1. #1
    Sagan's Avatar Carl Sagan
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    Spectacular Image!



    A new image from ESO’s VISTA telescope captures a celestial landscape of glowing clouds of gas and tendrils of dust surrounding hot young stars. This infrared view reveals the stellar nursery known as NGC 6357 in a surprising new light. It was taken as part of a VISTA survey that is currently scanning the Milky Way in a bid to map our galaxy’s structure and explain how it formed.

    Located around 8000 light-years away in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), NGC 6357 — sometimes nicknamed the Lobster Nebula due to its appearance in visible-light images — is a region filled with vast clouds of gas and tendrils of dark dust. These clouds are forming stars, including massive hot stars which glow a brilliant blue-white in visible light.

    This image uses infrared data from ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. It is just a small part of a huge survey called VISTA Variables in the V*a Láctea (VVV) that is imaging the central parts of the Galaxy (eso1242). The new picture presents a drastically different view to that seen in visible-light images — such as the image taken with the 1.5-metre Danish telescope at La Silla — as infrared radiation can penetrate much of the covering of dust that shrouds the object .

    One of the bright young stars in NGC 6357, known as Pismis 24-1, was thought to be the most massive star known — until it was found to actually be made up of at least three huge bright stars, each with a mass of under 100 times that of our Sun. Even so, these stars are still heavyweights — some of the most massive in our Milky Way. Pismis 24-1 is the brightest object in the Pismis 24 star cluster, a bunch of stars that are all thought to have formed at the same time within NGC 6357.

    http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1309/

    Behold the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Ramen!
    http://youtu.be/zSgiXGELjbc

    "A still more glorious dawn awaits
    Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
    A morning filled with 400 billion suns
    The rising of the milky way"

    "The sky calls to us
    If we do not destroy ourselves
    We will one day venture to the stars" -Carl Sagan

  2. #2
    Ironman's Avatar
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    Wow. That's cool and scary at the same time.

  3. #3
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    I like how the color differences between stars is really apparent.

  4. #4
    shelbster18's Avatar I'm a gangsta crayon.
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    That's beautiful. When I stare at it, it looks like it's moving a little. Might just be my eyes messing with me.

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