Previously unseen details of the Cone Nebula revealed

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The Cone Nebula, a star-forming area in the Milky Way Galaxy around 2,500 light-years from Earth, appears to be a legendary monster in this disturbing photograph.

The nebula is named after its conical shape and is located in the tumultuous, 7-light-year-long area of NGC 2264, which is a source of intensive star creation around 2,500 light-years from Earth.

The Cone Nebula has received a lot of attention due to its proximity to our planet. Previous images, however, lacked the incredible detail seen in the new observation, which was made earlier this year by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, according to a statement(opens in new tab) from the European Southern Observatory, which operates the telescope.

Previously unseen details of the Cone Nebula revealed 1
A haunting image of the Cone Nebula, a star-forming region about 2,500 light-years from Earth, makes it appear like a mythological creature

Nebulae are formed when a star larger than the Sun reaches the end of its life and spews its contents into space. These structures, also known as nebulae, are made of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Stars also form in nebulae.

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Previously unseen details of the Cone Nebula revealed 2
This more zoomed out image from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) shows the region of the sky around the Cone Nebula

The Cone Nebula, named after its shape, is located in the constellation Unicorn. The nebula, which is about 2,500 light-years from Earth, has been the subject of much study due to its relatively close proximity. But previous images lack the detail of the VLT’s latest image.

Hydrogen is seen in blue and sulfur in red. Young stars in the nebula glow yellow.

The nebula’s unique shape is caused by clouds of molecular gas and dust that allow new stars to form. These columns are created when young stars emit stellar winds and ultraviolet radiation, which help to drive away the material around them.

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Previously unseen details of the Cone Nebula revealed 3
This still image from the ESO’s video starts from our location in the galaxy, showing the stellar and dusty band of the Milky Way, before later zooming in to the Cone Nebula

The European Southern Observatory was founded on October 5, 1962, with the signature of Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Sweden. Other European states later joined the observatory.–sR25dl9k

ESO operates three unique world-class observatories in the Atacama Desert. In addition to the VLT, they house instruments such as the 3.5-meter New Technology Telescope and the spectrometer HARPS.

Main sources: Space.comDaily Mail,



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