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A Beauty in the Mirror

18 Feb 2011, 23:41 UTC
A Beauty in the Mirror
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The refection nebula Messier 78 has been captured in incredible details thanks to the ESO’s MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Messier 78 Credit: ESO and Igor Chekalin
This is a spectacular example of a refection nebula. The stars within and nearby release large quantities of visible and ultra violet light, this is not at high enough energies to ionise the nebula’s gas (thus it does not glow) and we see the light as it is reflected off the components of the nebula.
M78 is one of the brightest reflection nebulae in the night sky, easily visible using a small amateur telescope, in the constellation Orion to the northeast of the eastern most star in Orion’s belt.
M47 is located around 1350 light years from Earth and is actively forming new stars with a collection of at least 45 low mass stars that are in the final stages of their formation process but have yet to commence nuclear fusion in their cores. These stars are classed as T-Tauri stars and studying them can provide us with more information on how stars and planetary systems form and develop in the early stages of their existence.
The majority ...

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