Star birth

Stars being born inside a nebula
Stars being born inside the Sharpless 2-106 Nebula (S106)

This amazing picture of stars being born inside a nebula was taken by Daniel Lopez using Grantecan.

Near the centre of the picture is a dark red spot – that’s the new star which shines mostly in the infrared. The butterfly shape is a large disk of dust and gas orbiting the star. The gas near the star shines because it is ionized (like the inside of a flourescent tube) and the gas farther from the star shines with reflected light. The nebula is studded with hundreds of small, dim stars called brown dwarfs.

This nebula is about 2 light-years across and about 2000 light-years away.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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