Wednesday, November 20, 2013
In the NGC 6357 Nebula, 8000 light-years from Earth, there is a distinct image of a colossal hare!
NGC 6357, is a diffuse nebula near NGC 6334 in the constellation Scorpius. The nebula contains many proto-stars shielded by dark disks of gas, and young stars wrapped in expanding "cocoons."
This nebula was given the name War and Peace Nebula by the Midcourse Space Experiment scientists because of its appearance. They said that in infrared images the bright, western part resembles a dove, while the eastern part looks like a skull.
This nebula includes the open cluster Pismis 24, which is home to several massive stars. One of the brightest stars in the cluster, Pismis 24-1, was thought possibly to be the most massive on record, approaching 300 solar masses, until it was discovered to be a binary system with each star exceeding 100 solar masses.
Image: Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of Pismis 24-1, the "core" of NGC 6357. (Photo: HST/NASA/ESA)