Astronomers discovered a 'ghostly one-winged butterfly' 520 light-years from Earth in this stunning image.
The International Gemini Observatory has captured a new image of a nebula that resembles an ethereal one-winged butterfly.
Due to its bright glow when viewed in infrared light, the nebula in focus, which is 520 light-years away from Earth, is known as Chamaeleon Infrared.
The southern edition of the twin Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs (GMOS) at the National Science Foundation's NOIRLab in Cerro Pach3n, Chile, captured the image.
"GMOS-South is the ideal instrument for this observation because of its wide field of view, which allows it to capture the entire nebula, as well as its ability to capture the emission from the nebula's ionized gas," said German Gimeno, a NOIRLab instrument scientist.
The nebula's stunning beauty may take center stage in the image, but a baby star is hidden behind a dark vertical band in the center.
The young star is relatively cool (in comparison to our sun, which is extremely hot and dense) and serves as a source of powerful stellar winds and gas streams.
In the photo, the gas is responsible for the reflection of visible and infrared light.
A bright red spot near the center-right of the image shows where fast-moving gas streams collide with slower-moving gas in the nebula, causing a flash of light.
A Herbig-Haro (HH) object is a bright patch of nebulosity that is often associated with newborn stars.
The birth of a star is a complicated process that occurs when dense clumps of molecular gas collide and spin under their own gravity.
Material (such as gas, plasma, dust, and particles) is drawn into an accretion disk as they spin, feeding the gaseous ball until it becomes a star.
The Chamaeleon Infrared Nebula is part of the larger Chamaeleon I dark cloud, which is in close proximity to the Chamaeleon II and Chamaeleon III dark clouds.
The Chamaeleon Complex, a large area of stars that makes up most of the constellation Chamaeleon in the southern sky, is made up of these three dark clouds.
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