The Flame Nebula in Orion comes to life in a new image released by the European Southern Observatory based on data collected over several years by astronomer Thomas Stanke and a team using the SuperCam instrument at the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The newly processed radio image, which includes a variety of other nebulae like the famous Horsehead, is shown in a box superimposed on a visible-light background image of the region from the Digitised Sky Survey 2. The huge molecular clouds of Orion are the nearest to the sun, located between 1,300 and 1,600 light years from Earth. It is home to the most active stellar nursery in the local neighborhood.
In this image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), light from blazing blue stars energises the gas left over from the stars’ recent formation. The result is a strikingly colourful emission nebula, called LHA 120-N55, in which the stars are adorned with a mantle of glowing gas. LHA 120-N55 lies within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.
The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy, pictured in this new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory, is a close neighbour of the Milky Way. This galaxy is much smaller and older than ours, making it a valuable subject for studying both star and galaxy formation in the early universe. However, due to its faintness, studying this object is no easy task.