A star is born...

Science Illustrated - - CONTENTS - Photo // Euro­pean South­ern Ob­ser­va­tory

Thou­sands of new stars form in a haze of gas and dust known as the Taran­tula Neb­ula. Thanks to the Paranal ob­ser­va­tory in Chile, as­tronomers have taken the sharpest pic­ture ever of the neb­ula. Taran­tula is 600 light years wide and the bright­est star for­ma­tion re­gion seen from Earth. High- en­ergy ra­di­a­tion from the new-born stars forces hy­dro­gen atoms in the gases to give off elec­trons, giv­ing the gas a red­dish glow. The light from the neb­ula shows the con­di­tions re­quired for a star to form.

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