Sharpless 29 is located 5,500 light years away from us in the constellation of Sagittarius. Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
The European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) has captured a sparkling image of Sharpless 29, home to much embellishing star formation features. This sight brings together a diversity of astronomical phenomena, including young bright stars, illuminating gas and darkening dust.
Sharpless 39, also known as Sh 2-29, is part of the Sharpless catalogue that lists over 300 emission nebulae, which can also be referred to as ‘HII nebulae’. Sharpless 29 is located 5,500 light years away from us in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer), and sits right next to the famous Lagoon Nebula. The nebula at the centre of this picture, NGC 6559, contains all the fundamental molecules and elements needed to kick-start the birth of many massive stars.
This nebula is the prominent feature in the striking image. It stretches a few light years across and exhibits erosive and destructive behaviour to the cloud it was born in. On cosmic timescales, these stars are extremely young with an age of no older than two million years old, and because of this, they are firing out incredible amounts ...