Hubble captures 'cosmic smokescreen' of Lagoon Nebula
The open cluster is set within the larger Lagoon Nebula and lies 4,350 light years away from the Earth in the constellation Sagittarius
The European Space Agency (ESA) shared a Hubble image of the open cluster NGC 6530, where it appears as a star-studded "cosmic smokescreen."
The open cluster is set within the larger Lagoon Nebula and lies 4,350 light years away from the Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.
The Lobster Nebula, also known as Messier 8, is a gigantic interstellar cloud of gas and dust that gives the image its smokey appearance.
Situated about 4,000 light years away from our planet, the nebula presents an excellent opportunity for astronomers to study the properties of very young stars.
Many of the infant stars in the nebula give off large amounts of high-energy light.
Astronomers used Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 to investigate NGC 6530.
They did this in the hope of finding new examples of proplyds, which are a particular class of illuminated protoplanetary discs surrounding newborn stars.
According to ESA, a vast majority of proplyds have been found in the Orion Nebula, making it difficult to understand their origin and lifetimes in other environments.
The Hubble telescope was crucial in the investigations of proplyds around newly born stars in the Orion Nebula due to its ability to observe at infrared wavelengths.
The Hubble's infrared capabilities can now be supplemented by the James Webb Space Telescope's unparalleled aptitude for observations in various infrared wavelengths.
Webb will allow astronomers to look through the dusty envelope around newly born stars and investigate the faintest and earliest stages of star birth.