Scarlet Space Sea (photo)

The staff of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has published a new spectacular photo of a deep space object. On it you can see the emission nebula Gum 10.

Emission nebula Gum 10. Source: ESO

The Gum 10 nebula is located at a distance of 10,400 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Puppis. It is named after its discoverer, Australian astronomer Colin Gama. During his career, he found about 80 similar objects. 

The characteristic pink color of the nebula is explained as follows. The powerful ultraviolet radiation of hot blue stars located inside Gum 10 ionizes the surrounding gas clouds, knocking electrons out of their atoms. When these electrons recombine, it results in the emission of light at a certain wavelength. Since interstellar gas clouds are mostly composed of hydrogen, emission nebulae like Gum 10 have a characteristic red color. As for the dark areas, they correspond to dense dust accumulations that block light from background objects.

The image of the nebula was taken using the FORS2 instrument mounted on the ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The image was obtained during the ESO Cosmic Gems program, an educational initiative aimed at photographing interesting, mysterious or simply beautiful objects of the southern sky. The survey is usually carried out at a time when the observatory’s telescopes, for one reason or another, are unable to conduct planned observations.

Earlier we talked about how astronomers managed to photograph the raspberry nebula.

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