Paranal Observatory Astronomers have taken a stunning new photograph of Sh2-54. It is a bright nebula located in the constellation Serpens.
Sh2-54 is located approximately 6,200 light years away from the constellation Serpens.
ESO Astronomers stated in a statement that “the ‘Sh” refers to Stewart Sharpless (U.S. astronomer), who cataloged over 300 nebulae between the 1950s.”
Also known by LBN 018.45+01.87 and IRAS 18150-1142 as Mol 72, LBN 72, and Mol 46, the Sh2-54 nebula includes the Omega Nebula, the Eagle Nebula, and LBN 028.45+01.87.
Astronomers explain that nebulae, which are huge clouds of dust and gas from which stars can be born, are called “Nebulae”.
Telescopes allow astronomers in incredible detail to find and analyze these faint objects.”
As technology advances to study the Universe, our knowledge of the stellar nurseries also improves.
“One of the most important advances in our field is the ability, beyond what can be seen by the eyes (infrared light), to see.”
“Just like the snake that is named after this nebula developed the ability to detect infrared light and better understand its surroundings, so have we created infrared instruments for learning more about the Universe.”
While visible light in nebulae is readily absorbed by dust clouds, infrared can easily pass through thick dust layers almost undeterred.
The image of Sh2-54 reveals the wealth of stars that lie behind dust veils.
This is especially useful because it allows scientists the opportunity to examine what occurs in stellar nurseries more closely and learn more about star formation.
The 67 million-pixel camera of ESO’s VISTA telescope captured this image in infrared.
This was part of the VISTA Variables Survey in Via Lactea eXtended.
It is a multiyear-old project which has observed the Milky Way repeatedly at infrared wavelengths. This data provides key information to understanding stellar evolution.