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ESO’s Very Large Telescope captures brilliant celestial starscape

12 Jul 2018, 01:07 UTC
ESO’s Very Large Telescope captures brilliant celestial starscape
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The star cluster RCW 38, some 5,500 light years away in the constellation of Vela, features hundreds of massive, hot, young stars embedded in clouds of gas and dust. The stars are generally unseen in optical images but this stunning infrared view, taken with the HAWK instrument attached to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (Unit 4), shows the cluster’s central regions with a bluish tint where young stars and protostars are still in the process of lighting up. Radiation streaming away from these young stars causes surrounding material to glow brightly in contrast to darker, cooler clouds that glow in shades of red and brown. The result, ESO rightly says, is a “spectacular scene – a piece of celestial artwork.”
The star cluster RCW 38, as seen in the infrared by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and HAWK instrument. Credit: ESO/K. Muzic

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