In this huge image of part of the southern constellation of Norma, wisps of crimson gas are illuminated by rare, massive stars that have only recently ignited and are still buried deep in thick dust clouds. The vast nebula where these giants were born, known as RCW 106, is captured here in fine detail by ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST), at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.
O-type stars are the hottest and brightest stars known. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed that the magnetic field at the surface of NGC 1624-2 is 20,000 times stronger than at the surface of our Sun. NGC 1624-2 contains a raging storm of extreme stellar winds and dense plasma that gobbles up X-rays before they can escape into space.