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Star formation on filaments in RCW106

27 February 2017 Stephen Clark

Stars are bursting into life all over this image from ESA’s Herschel space observatory. It depicts the giant molecular cloud RCW106, a massive billow of gas and dust almost 12,000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Norma, the Carpenter’s Square.

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The Calabash clash

6 February 2017 Stephen Clark

The Calabash Nebula, pictured here — which has the technical name OH 231.8+04.2 — is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the Sun.

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Celestial cat meets cosmic lobster

3 February 2017 Stephen Clark

Astronomers have for a long time studied the glowing, cosmic clouds of gas and dust catalogued as NGC 6334 and NGC 6357, this gigantic new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope being only the most recent one.

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Festive nebulae light up Milky Way Galaxy satellite

23 December 2016 Stephen Clark

The sheer observing power of the Hubble Space Telescope is rarely better illustrated than in an image such as this. This glowing pink nebula, named NGC 248, is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, just under 200,000 light-years away and yet can still be seen in great detail.

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A cosmic winter wonderland

22 December 2016 Astronomy Now

Although there are no seasons in space, this cosmic vista invokes thoughts of a frosty winter landscape. It is, in fact, a region called NGC 6357 where radiation from hot, young stars is energizing the cooler gas in the cloud that surrounds them.

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Crash course?

20 December 2016 Astronomy Now

It may look as though Saturn’s moon Mimas is crashing through the rings in this image taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, but Mimas is actually 45,000 kilometres (28,000 miles) away from the rings.