The MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in northern Chile has captured a new image of the wings of a "cosmic seagull," the European Southern Observatory announced Wednesday.
The new image, taken with a wide-field camera, shows part of a cloud of glowing dust and gas called the Seagull Nebula, along with several small red clouds comprising part of the "wings" of the celestial bird.
Nebulae are interstellar clouds of dust, molecules, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases in which new stars are being born.
The Seagull Nebula - formally known as IC 2177 and consisting mainly of hydrogen - owes its nickname to its shape, resembling a flying seagull with a wingspan of about 100 light years.
The new image shows a fascinating mixture of dark clouds and bright red clouds sprinkled with brilliant stars.
The Seagull Nebula is located on the border between the constellations of Monoceros (The Unicorn) and Canis Major, and it is near the star Sirius, the star with the greatest apparent brightness as seen from Earth. EFE