VLT takes a close look at NGC 6357

June 20, 2012
ESO’s Very Large Telescope has taken the most detailed image so far of a spectacular part of the stellar nursery called the War and Peace Nebula (NGC 6357). The view shows many hot young stars, glowing clouds of gas and weird dust formations sculpted by ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds. Credit: ESO

(Phys.org) -- ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has taken the most detailed image so far of a spectacular part of the stellar nursery called NGC 6357. The view shows many hot young stars, glowing clouds of gas and weird dust formations sculpted by ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds.

Deep in the Milky Way in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion) lies the War and Peace Nebula, or NGC 6357, a region of space where new stars are being born in of chaotic clouds of gas and dust. The outer parts of this vast nebula have now been imaged by ESO's Very Large Telescope, producing the best picture of this region taken so far.

The new picture shows a broad river of dust across the centre that absorbs the light from more distant objects. To the right there is a small cluster of brilliant blue-white young stars that have formed from the gas. These are probably only a few million years old, very young by stellar standards. The streaming out from these stars is hollowing out a cavity in the surrounding gas and dust and sculpting it in strange ways.

The whole image is covered with dark trails of cosmic dust, but some of the most fascinating dark features appear at the lower right and on the right hand edge of the picture. Here the radiation from the bright young stars has created curious elephant trunk columns, similar to the famous "pillars of creation" in the . is much finer than the more familiar domestic variety. It more closely resembles smoke and consists mostly of of silicates, graphite, and water ice that were produced and expelled into space by earlier generations of stars.

The bright central part of NGC 6357 contains a cluster of high-mass stars whose inhabitants are among the brightest in our galaxy. This inner region, not seen in this new picture, has been much studied and imaged by the NASA/ESA . But this new picture shows that even the less well known outer parts of this nursery contain fascinating structures that can be revealed by the power of the VLT.

Explore further: The smoky pink core of the Omega Nebula

Related Stories

The smoky pink core of the Omega Nebula

January 4, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new image of the Omega Nebula, captured by ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), is one of the sharpest of this object ever taken from the ground. It shows the dusty, rose-coloured central parts of this famous ...

VLT takes most detailed infrared image of the Carina Nebula

February 8, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESO's Very Large Telescope has delivered the most detailed infrared image of the Carina Nebula stellar nursery taken so far. Many previously hidden features, scattered across a spectacular celestial landscape ...

A pocket of star formation

February 1, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- This new view shows a stellar nursery called NGC 3324. It was taken using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. The intense ultraviolet radiation from ...

A cluster within a cluster

April 25, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this new image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is often overlooked in favour of its more ...

An Eagle of Cosmic Proportions

July 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Today ESO has released a new and stunning image of the sky around the Eagle Nebula, a stellar nursery where infant star clusters carve out monster columns of dust and gas.

A cosmic superbubble (w/ video)

July 20, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured this striking view of the nebula around the star cluster NGC 1929 within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. A colossal example of ...

Recommended for you

TDRS: An era of continuous space communications

August 17, 2017

More than 50 years ago, at the dawn of human spaceflight, the first brave astronauts were only able to communicate with mission control operators on Earth for about 15 percent of each orbit. If this were true today, the International ...

Supermassive black holes feed on cosmic jellyfish

August 16, 2017

An Italian-led team of astronomers used the MUSE (Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile to study how gas can be stripped from galaxies. They ...

Radio relic discovered in a low-mass merging galaxy cluster

August 16, 2017

Astronomers have detected a new single radio relic in a low-mass merging galaxy cluster known as PLCK G200.9−28.2. The finding, presented Aug. 5 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print server, could offer some hints ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.