Deep space still has many mysteries to surprise us with: in recent days, the sky has given us another breathtaking snapshot taken by the cameras of the Hubble telescope. It almost looks like a wall of “hot smoke” standing in the Universe, a truly sensational image. What is it about?
The cosmic cloud immortalized by the Hubble telescope
NASA has shared one of the latest images taken by the Hubble telescope, and it’s something absolutely amazing. A wall of swirling reddish smoke dotted with small dazzling bright dots: it is a cosmic cloud studded with stars, which scientists have finally been able to study in more depth. NGC 6530 – this is the name that astronomers have given to the cloud – is a open cluster located in the constellation of Sagittarius and is characterized by cosmic dust where thousands of stars nestle.
The cloud, discovered for the first time as early as the 1600s, is located about 4,350 light years from the Earth and is in the heart of the Lagoon Nebula, a huge collection of interstellar gas that looks so bright that it can be seen with the naked eye when the sky is clear and dark enough. Thanks to the state-of-the-art instruments with which the Hubble telescope is equipped, the experts dedicated themselves to the study of NGC 6530. Scouring the entire region, they aimed finding new examples of proplydsionized protoplanetary disks that surround newborn stars.
Most of the proplyds we know of are found in the nearby Orion nebula: until now it has been difficult for astronomers to understand their origin and their existence in other regions of the Universe. The Hubble telescope, which is also able to observe at infrared lengths, is fundamental for the study of stars and their birth. Combining his data with those extrapolated from observations made with the latest James Webb telescope, it will be possible fathom the dust and gas surrounding newborn stars and understand something more about their origin.
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Hubble, its most suggestive photos
Launched into low orbit in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope it is one of the most important tools that we still have today to be able to explore the deepest space. Despite many years of service, it is still in operation and will probably last another decade or two, before giving way to its “colleague” James Webb. The latter was launched on Christmas Day 2021, and in just a year it has given us some of the most evocative snapshots ever taken of the Universe. But it is still Hubble that has the record in this area: its space photos are beautiful.
Not even a year ago, for example, it captured the moment when three distinct galaxies merged, an exceptional event that occurred more than 680 million light-years from Earth. While last summer was the turn of a mysterious “tongue of fire” identified within the Red Spider Nebula, a creepy photo. Not to mention that Hubble has allowed scientists to study exoplanets, i gamma-ray bursts and – last but not least – black holes. In short, it is a true gold mine of information from space, and will be for a long time to come.
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