Astronomy

Illuminating a nebula

Illuminating a nebula

This striking mixture of colors and structures reveals a place where stars are born. A cloud of dust and gas, also known as a nebula, is chock-full of the ingredients needed to create stars, and there are plenty within this feature, known as Sharpless 29. When new stars are born, their fresh and intense ultraviolet radiation strikes all the surrounding hydrogen gas. This is absorbed and re-emitted at a lower energy, giving us the reddish glow throughout the center. When the light travels towards us on Earth, it can hit a wall of dust. This barrier will absorb, but not remit, the light, giving the black streaks that are extremely evident in this stunning image.

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