The Jolly Roger of neb­u­lae

All About Space - - Launch Pad -

A ce­les­tial pi­rate lurks in the south­ern skies, cap­tured here by ESO’s Very Large Tele­scope. Given the of­fi­cial des­ig­na­tion of NGC 2467, this ne­bula has also been given the nick­name of the ‘Skull and Cross­bones’ Ne­bula and was im­aged as part of ESO’s Cos­mic Gems Pro­gramme.

The col­lec­tion of vivid colours is a re­gion of ac­tive star for­ma­tion with gas, dust and young stars all grav­i­ta­tion­ally bound and form­ing the sin­is­ter out­line of a skull with a gap­ing mouth. It is this beau­ti­fully omi­nous shape that lends the ne­bula its nick­name and has given as­tronomers a wealth of sci­en­tific data from which to make brand new dis­cov­er­ies.

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