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Chicken Nebula’s Beautiful, Violent Stellar Nursery

As on Earth, young stars in space can be a handful. Blustery spasms produce violent stellar winds, tantrums that carve bubbles and cavities into surrounding dust and gas. Belches of intense stellar radiation dump energy into those clouds, exciting atoms and causing them to glow. In the photo above, just released by the European Southern Observatory, a hydrogen gas cloud blasted by these unruly young stars is glowing red.

This stellar nursery lives 7,300 light-years away. It’s parked near the feet of what’s colloquially known as the Running Chicken Nebula — or, more formally, as the Lambda Centauri Nebula, which is visible in the southern constellation of Centaurus. The particular cloud above was catalogued in 1955 by Australian astronomer Colin Gum, which is why it bears the name Gum 41.

2 thoughts on “Chicken Nebula’s Beautiful, Violent Stellar Nursery

  1. Dear Nadia, it would be so much nicer if you would explain in real terms what is happening in the center of this enormous cosmic cloud instead of using your romantic statements like “belches” and “tantrums” and “stellar nursery” and “spasms”. Who do you think your readers are, only mom’s and pregnant young ladies? And even they deserve some clear and very rational scientific explanations. Don’t you think?

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