The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released a pair of spectacular images showing the dramatic Flame Nebula seen through a radio telescope. This nebula is located in the constellation of Orion, and it has a beautiful flame-like structure when viewed in the radio wavelength.
The image was taken with ESO’s Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope, which takes its name from its location in Chile’s Atacama Desert. This radio telescope is located at a very high altitude of 5,064 meters above sea level, in a very dry region, which allows it to see far into space without being hindered by the water in the atmosphere. earthly.
The researchers used the SuperCam instrument on APEX, which had just been installed, and turned it towards Orion to admire the view. “As astronomers like to say, whenever there is a new telescope or instrument, watch Orion: there will always be something new and interesting to discover!” said researcher Thomas Stanke in a declaration.
The image above shows the data collected by APEX in the orange rectangle, with the Flame Nebula located in the left half and the NGC 2023 Emission Nebula located on the right. APEX data is displayed above an infrared view taken by ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey for Astronomy (VISTA) telescope.
A similar image was also made using APEX data but with a background in the visible light wavelength, captured for the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2), and shown below:
Orion is a popular target for astronomers because it has the nearest giant molecular clouds, which are huge structures composed mostly of hydrogen in which new stars are born. This stellar nursery is seen in the emission nebula next to the flame nebula, in which newly born stars emit radiation that causes the gas around them to glow. And despite the fiery appearance of the Flame Nebula, the gas there is actually cold, just a fraction above the temperature of absolute zero.
The research will be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
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