Washington: Astronomers have taken a new photograph that shows a glowing jumble of gas clouds make up a huge stellar nursery nicknamed the Prawn Nebula, which is located 6,000 years ago.
The nebula is located in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), the nebula formally known as IC 4628 is a huge region filled with gas and clumps of dark dust.
These gas clouds are star-forming regions, producing brilliant hot young stars. In visible light, these stars appear as a blue-white colour, but they also emit intense radiation in other parts of the spectrum - most notably in the ultraviolet.
It is this ultraviolet light from the stars that causes the gas clouds to glow. This radiation strips electrons from hydrogen atoms, which then later recombine and release energy in the form of light.
Each chemical element emits light at characteristic colours when this process occurs, and for hydrogen the predominant colour is red.
This image was taken by the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO`s Paranal Observatory in Chile. The VST is the largest telescope in the world designed for surveying the sky in visible light.
It is a state-of-the-art 2.6-metre telescope built around the OmegaCAM camera that contains 32 CCD detectors that together create 268-megapixel images. This new 24 000-pixel-broad image is a mosaic of two such images and is one of the largest single images released by ESO so far.