ESO: Celestial Cat Meets Cosmic Lobster

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ESO: Celestial Cat Meets Cosmic Lobster

Post by bystander » Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:43 pm

Celestial Cat Meets Cosmic Lobster
ESO Photo Release | VST | 2017 Feb 01
[img3="The Cat’s Paw and Lobster Nebulae -- Credit: ESO/VST"][/img3][hr][/hr]
Astronomers have for a long time studied the glowing, cosmic clouds of gas and dust catalogued as NGC 6334 and NGC 6357, this gigantic new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope being only the most recent one. With around two billion pixels this is one of the largest images ever released by ESO. The evocative shapes of the clouds have led to their memorable names: the Cat’s Paw Nebula and the Lobster Nebula, respectively.

NGC 6334 is located about 5500 light-years away from Earth, while NGC 6357 is more remote, at a distance of 8000 light-years. Both are in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), near the tip of its stinging tail.

The British scientist John Herschel first saw traces of the two objects, on consecutive nights in June 1837, during his three-year expedition to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. At the time, the limited telescopic power available to Herschel, who was observing visually, only allowed him to document the brightest “toepad” of the Cat’s Paw Nebula. It was to be many decades before the true shapes of the nebulae became apparent in photographs — and their popular names coined. ...

Thanks to the power of the 256-megapixel OmegaCAM camera, this new Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope (VST) image reveals tendrils of light-obscuring dust rippling throughout the two nebulae. At 49511 x 39136 pixels this is one of the largest images ever released by ESO. ...
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Re: ESO: Celestial Cat Meets Cosmic Lobster

Post by neufer » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:45 pm

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Re: ESO: Celestial Cat Meets Cosmic Lobster

Post by Ann » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:27 am

ESO wrote:

The three toepads visible to modern telescopes, as well as the claw-like regions in the nearby Lobster Nebula, are actually regions of gas — predominantly hydrogen — energised by the light of brilliant newborn stars. With masses around 10 times that of the Sun, these hot stars radiate intense ultraviolet light.
It is strange that the caption should just talk about stars with masses around 10 times solar, when NGC 6357, the Lobster Nebula, is home to one of the most massive stars in our galaxy.
Wikipedia wrote:

Pismis 24-1, also known as HD 319718, is the brightest star of the open cluster Pismis 24 within the nebula NGC 6357 about 6,500 light-years away. It was once thought to be the most massive star known, but is composed of at least three individual objects, each still among the most luminous and most massive stars known.
The Wikipedia text mentions masses of 74 and 66 times that of the Sun for two of the components of Pismis 24-1.

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